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AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 
SIXTEENTH CENTURY 



ALLAHABAD UNIVERSITY PUBLICATIONS. 

No. I. FOUR LECTURES ON THE HANDLING OF 
HISTORICAL MATERIA?.. Crown 8vo. 

No. 2. SUPPLEMENT TO THE FIRST VOLUME OF 
GLADWIN'S AYEEN AKBERI. Crown 8vo. 

No. 3. AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE SIXTEENTH 
CENTURY. Crown 8vo. 



LONGMANS, GREEN. AND CO.. 

LONDON, NEW YORK, BOMBAY, CALCUTTA, AND MADRAS. 



Publications of tlie Department of Modern Indian History 
Allahabad University 

No. 3 



AN 

EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 
SIXTEENTH CENTURY 

A SUMMARY ACCOUNT OF THE 
POLITICAL CAREER OF 

ZAHIR-UD-DIN MUHAMMAD 

SURNAMED BABUR 

BEING THE UNIVERSITY LECTURES FOR 1915-16 

BY 

. L. F. RUSHBROOK WILLIAMS 

B.A., B.LiTT., F.R.HisT.S., M.R.A.S., etc. 

FELLOW OF ALL SOULS COLLEGE, FELLOW AND PROFESSOR OF MODERN 
INDIAN HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ALLAHABAD 



WITH 16 ILLUSTRATIONS AND 7 MATS 

I A^D\ .?la:ns ;'•.;:' 

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DEDICATED 

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^^ *-v ^-v 



A SUMMARY LIST OF AUTHORITIES FOR THE 
CAREER OF BABUR 

A. — Principal Sources. 

1. The Memoirs of Babur himself. 

A Turki text was published by Ilminski in 1857, and another (in 
facsimile from the Hyderabad Codex) by Mrs. Beveridge in 1905. This 
latter is probably a direct copy from Babur's autograph text : see 
J.E.A.8., 1906, p. 87. 

Of the Turki text there are two principal Persian versions, the first 
by Payanda Hasan, and the second associated with the name of 
Mirza Abd-ur-Rahim. 

The best translations are three in number. That of Erskine and 
Leyden (1826), now rare, is based upon the second Persian version. It 
is extremely good reading, racy and vivid, but not always faithful to its 
original. The translation of Pavet de Courteille (1871) is based 
upon Ilminski's Turki text, and has remained until lately the nearest 
approach to the Memoirs as Babur wrote them which was accessible to 
readers of European languages. The third and latest translation, not 
yet complete, is the most faithful of all, being based upon the important 
Hyderabad codex. It is the work of Mrs. A. S. Beveridge. To this 
my obligations are great. 

The Memoirs, even when the " personal equation" is allowed for, do 
not supply all the details necessary for Babur's life. There are three 
important " blanks " in them, the first including the years 1503-1504, 
the second 1508-1519, the third 1520-1525. Recourse must therefore 
be had to other authorities. 

2. The Tarikh-i'Rashidi of Mirza Haidar Doghlat. The only trans- 
lation is that of N. Elias and Denison Ross. The author was Babur's 
cousin, and in intimate contact with him during the " Kabul " period 
of his career. Mirza Haidar's work is particularly valuable as helping 
to supply the blanks in the Memoirs ; but as the author was a rigid 
Sunni, a great hater of Shah Ismael and all his works, he is inclined 
to side with the Uzbegs in 1510 and the following years. Here he is 
not to be trusted. 



viii LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

3. The Habib-uS'Siyar of Khwandamir. Lithographed editions have 
been published at Bombay and Tehran. It is a universal history : but 
chapters iii. and iv. of Book III. are particularly important for the rela- 
tions between Babur and Shah Ismael. The author was a well-informed 
contemporary, who visited Babur in India, but preserved a detached 
attitude. The work was begun in a.h. 927, and was perhaps continued 
down to A.H. 935. Very little use has been made of it, probably because 
it has never been translated. It was not known to Erskine. 

4. The Ahsan-us-Siyar of Mirza Barkhwardar Turkman. The only 
copy known to me is the imperfect one in the library of Nawab 
Abdussalam Khan of Rampur (U.P.), which recounts in great detail 
the relations between Babur and Shah Ismael (to whom the book was 
dedicated). This history is noteworthy because the author, a Shi4, 
who wrote with the professed object of correcting the Habib-us-Siyar, 
confirms it in all important respects. The book was finished in 
A.H. 937. 

5. The Shaibani Nama of Mirza Muhammad Salih is the versified 
history of Babur's great antagonist. It has been edited and translated 
by A. Vamb6ry. It is very important as showing the Usbeg side of the 
struggle between Babur and Shaibani. 

6. The Alim arai Abassi of Mirza Sikandar Munshi is primarily a 
history of the Safawi king Shah Abbas (a.d. 1588-1628) and was com- 
posed in 1616. But there is a detailed account of the origin of the 
Safawi dynasty, and of the relations between Babur and Shah Ismael. 
I have used the Bodleian Fraser MSS., 144, 147, 145. 

7. The Humayun Nania of Gulbadan Begam, Babur's daughter, 
contains some intimate personal recollection of the author's father. 
The whole account, however, is exceedingly partial, and unreliable 
where it is concerned with the relations between Babur and his sons, 
which are represented as being the best possible. It has been ex- 
cellently edited by Mrs. Beveridge. 



B, — Minor Sources. 

8. The Tarikh-i-Hakki of Shaikh Abd-al-Hakk bin Saif-ud-Din 
Dihlawi is useful for the reigns of the Lodi dynasty. What the author 
reports of the time of Bahlol and his successors, he knows from actual 
eyewitnesses or from hearsay. The text I have used is Bodleian 
Fraser MS., 162. 

9. The Ahsan-ut-Tawarikh of Hasan is a chronicle of the reigns of 
Shah Ismael and Shah Tahmasp from a.h. 900-985. There is, 
however, an imfortunate lacuna (a.h. 913-931) in the texts I have 
seen, which deprives the book of much of its value as a source for 
Babur's history. I have used the Bodleian Ouseley MS., 232. 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES ix 

10. The Tarikh-i-Firishta of Muhammad Bin Kasim is useful for 
helping to supply gaps in the Memoirs. The account of Babur is, like 
the rest of the book, sane, accurate and well-balanced. The most 
accessible version is the Calcutta reprint of Briggs' translation, but it 
is not faithful throughout. 

11. The Tabaqat-i-Akbari of Nizam-ud-Din Ahmad is a good general 
history of India from the Muhammadan invasions to the latter part of 
the sixteenth century. There is a short but good account of Babur. 
I have used the Bodleian Elliot MS., 381. 

12. The Akbar nama of Abu'l Fazl contains an introductory 
chapter dealing with Babur, based principally upon the Memoirs, but 
too laudatory to be trusted. It is, however, occasionally worth con- 
sulting, and is readily accessible in the Bibliotheca Indica edition. 
It is being translated by Mr. H. Beveridge. 

G. — Modern Works. 

13. Erskine. A History of India in the Time of Babur and Hicma- 
yun (1854) is a fine and scholarly piece of work, excellent alike from the 
Indian and from the Persian point of view. Its solid learning and 
soimd judgment will always make it difficult to supersede. But the 
author did not make use of some important sources, particularly 
Nos. 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, so that his conclusions need re-stating in certain 
respects. 

14. Lane Poole. Baber. (Rulers of India.) This is the best short 
account of Babur's career at present available, but it is based entirely 
on translated sources, the author relying on Nos. 13, 2, and 1 (Pavet de 
Courteille's translation). 

15. Caldecott. Life of Baber. A readable summary based principally 
on the Memoirs. 

For other books consulted, the reader is referred to the footnotes, 
where full particulars will be found. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Dedication v 

SuMMAEY List op Authoeities for the Caeeer of Babur vii 

List of Maps and Plans xiii 

List of Illustrations xv 

Introduction: Babur's Place in Indian History: 
being a Brief Account op the Politics of Hin- 
dustan immediately prior to the Mughal Invasion 1 

CeAPTER 

I. Boyhood 21 

II. The Training op a Wareioe 42 

III. Days op Adveesity 58 

IV. Kabul 77 

V. Samarkand once moee 95 

VI. The Conquest op Hindustan 123 

VII. The Foundations of an Empire 159 

Index 181 



LIST OF MAPS AND PLANS 

PAGE 

Map 1. India in the Fifteenth Century 3 

Map 2. Fabghana and Surrounding Countries .... 20 

Map 3. Babur's Invasions op Hindustan 99 

Map 4. Babur's Dominions in 1530 118 

Plan 1. The Battle of Sab-i-Pul 61 

Plan 2. The Battle op Panipat 131 

Plan 3. The Battle of Kanua 150 



NOTE ON THE ILLUSTRATIONS 

For the privilege of reproducing these illustrations from the famous 
Alwar Codex of the Memoirs, and the less known Agra College Codex, 
I am indebted to the kindness of H.H. the Maharajadhiraj of Alwar, 
and of Mr. Cuthbertson Jones, Principal of Agra College. Mr. Ram 
Prasad Tripathi, M.A., Reader in Modern Indian History in the 
University, has kindly assisted me in the selection and annotation of 
the examples chosen. 



LIST OF ILLUSTKATIONS 

TO PACE PAQH 

Babub in Middle Life {Alwar Codex) . Frontispiece 

NO. 

I. The Nobles of Farqhana do Homage to Babur 

{Alwar Codex) 31 

II. The Notables op Andijan pay their Respects to 

Babub {Alwar Codex) 31 

III. Aisan-daulat Begam ordering the Realm op her 

Grandson Babur {Agra Codex) 34 

IV. Aisan-daulat Begam gives Orders for the Arrest 

OP THE Conspirators {Agra Codex) 35 

V. Hamza Sultan, Mahdi Sultan, and some other 
Chieftains from Samarkand and Bokhara come 
TO SEEK Babur's Sebvice {Agra Codex) .... 40 

VI. The Messenger from the Insurgents hears that 

Babur is dying {Agra Codex) 46 

VII. The Storming of Samarkand {Agra Codex) .... 56 



xvi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

NO. PAGB 

VIII. The Mongol Army saluting the Yak-tail Standards 

{Agra Codex) 66 

IX. A Skirmish with the Afghans (Agra Codex) ... 81 

X. The Storming op Khilat {Agra Codex) 82 

XI. The Siege of Bajaur {Alwar Codex) 112 

XII. A Midnight Escapade {Alwar Codex) 115 

XIII. Babur's Garden {Agra Codex) 143 

XIV. One of Babur's Heavy Guns on its Carriage {Alwar 

Codex) 143 

XV. Babur directing a Charge at Kanua {Alwar Codex) 154 



INTRODUCTION 

BABUR's place in INDIAN HISTORY ; BEING A BRIEF ACCOUNT 
OP THE POLITICS OP HINDUSTAN IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO 
THE MUGHAL INVASION 

Perhaps in the whole course of mediaeval history there is no 
period which shocks our modern sense of political decorum so 
violently as the hundred years constituting the fifteenth 
century of the Christian era. The fourteenth century, in East 
and We-st alike, had been a period of promising, if premature, 
development. There had grown up everywhere compact, 
centralised monarchies, strong to all outward appearance ; 
prepared, as it would seem, to play a great part in the ameliora- 
tion of social and political conditions. In the civilisation of the 
West, the middle classes had begun to demand and to receive 
a share of power : in the East, strong monarchs had arisen, 
who had encouraged trade, extended their dominions on all 
sides, maintained the peace, and suppressed disorder with a 
ruthless hand. But to this sudden and precocious develop- 
ment there succeeded a period of decay still more startlingly 
rapid. The political units which had seemed so stable prove 
to be lacking in all the essentials of unity : the centralised 
monarchies which had seemed so strong fall apart into a help- 
less congeries of jarring fragments. The elements of disorder, 
which had apparently been banished, make their appearance 
in forces more formidable than ever. In East and West alike, 
the fifteenth century is a time of unparalleled confusion, an 
irrational, formless epoch, lacking alike in the elements of 
coherence and stability. Political society seems to be in the 
melting pot : history at first sight takes on the guise of ignoble 



2 AJ^ empire; BUIXDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

scuffling o{ kites and 6rowS ': and the casual observer despairs 
of discovering any clue to the bewildering confusion of parties, 
factions and polities. 

And yet a more careful examination reveals at length the 
falsity of such an impression. The confusion, bewildering as 
it may seem, is a mere ruffling of the surface of things, which 
leaves almost unaffected the lower depths where the vital 
constituents of society lie concealed. Beneath all the apparent 
chaos, the elements from which in the future modern political 
society will be constructed, are slowly taking shape, until the 
moment comes when they rise into view, dominant and in- 
controvertible. 

It is the peculiarity of the sixteenth century of the Christian 
era that in East and West alike it witnessed the commence- 
ment of this process of reconstruction. The change was not 
an unmixed blessing. The fifteenth century, for all its con- 
fusion and pettiness, had been an epoch when the arts of life 
had flourished. In the little courts of the little princes, 
whether of India or of Europe, building and the fine arts had 
in certain directions been cultivated to a pitch of perfection 
which in its own way has never been equalled, far less surpassed, 
by any subsequent epoch. The sixteenth century, a period of 
comprehensive schemes and far-reaching enterprises, is in 
many respects harder and less humane. Drawn on a bolder 
scale, it lacks at once the delicacy and the minuteness which 
distinguish the more elaborate and less obvious design of 
the period immediately preceding. 

The beginning of the sixteenth century in India as elsewhere 
is thus a period of transition, and in order that it may become 
intelligible, it must be looked at in the light of the conditions 
out of which it has taken shape. 

In the first half of the fourteenth century, the armies of the 
Khiljis and the Tughlaqs had carried the banners of the king- 
dom of Delhi far and wide. From the Sindh to the Bay of 
Bengal, from the Himalayas to the Krishna, the dynasty of 
Delhi held sway. That this sway was at all times effectual 
cannot be maintained in the face of authenticated facts. The 



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4 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

frequently occurring revolts in outlying districts, which too 
often make a king's reign assume the guise of one protracted 
military expedition, show that these monarchs were not com- 
pletely masters in their own house. Yet there can be no 
question that Ala-ud-din Khilji and Muhammad bin Tughlak 
exercised over their dominions an authority that was, broadly 
speaking, effective. 

In the second half of the fourteenth century, the picture 
gradually changes. As the central authority grows weak in 
proportion to the strain thrown upon it by the burden of 
empire, one by one the outlying provinces become troublesome. 
In most cases, events follow the same course. A trusted 
servant of the reigning king is sent to put down disorder. 
He finds himself master of a compact province, in touch with 
local interests, out of touch with the court of Delhi. In- 
sensibly he becomes an independent monarch, sometimes after 
an unsuccessful attempt has been made to reduce him to 
obedience, more often after death or intrigue has removed his 
old master and set up on the throne of Delhi a Pharaoh who 
knows not Joseph. And in this way it came about that the 
empire of Delhi was reduced to a shadow of its former self, 
until the invasion of Timur in 1398 brought the tottering 
structure to the ground, and invested its end, all undeservedly, 
with the dignity of a tragedy. Thus, during the fifteenth 
century, there is no history of Hindustan : for Hindustan has 
become a mass of separate states. Yet the history of these 
states is well worthy of attention, since they were the embodi- 
ment of the materials with which the constructional work of 
the next century was to be carried on. 

Taking our stand in the middle decade of the fifteenth 
century, we observe that these petty realms fall into four 
well-defined groups. First, there is what may be called the 
Northern belt of Muhammadan powers, which sweeps in a 
great semicircle from the mouth of the Sindh to the Bay of 
Bengal. At the southern extremity, we have the kingdom of 
Sindh : further north, that of Multan : next, the Panjab, 
nominally a vice-royalty of Delhi, but in practice the preserve 



INTRODUCTION 5 

of three powerful Afghan families . Then comes Delhi itself, with 
its immediate neighbourhood, the rulers of which still claim to 
be Emperors of Hindustan, despite the ridicule excited far and 
wide by their pretensions.^ To the south and east lies Jaunpur, 
the capital of the Sharqi dynasty, which rules the bulk of the 
land constituting the modern provinces of Agra and Oudh : 
while further eastward still is the kingdom of Bengal, living 
its life apart, and taking but small share in the ephemeral 
politics of Hindustan. The second group may be termed the 
Southern Muhammadan belt. First is Gujarat on the west, 
a well-defined geographical unit. Farther east is Malwa, with 
Mandu as its capital. South of Malwa is the little kingdom 
of Khandesh. And south of Khandesh is the great realm of the 
Deccan, ruled by its Bahmanid dynasty. Wedged in between 
the Northern and the Southern band of Muhammadan states 
lies Rajputana, deathless and indomitable after centuries of 
exterminating warfare, fast regaining some measure of its old 
strength through the divisions which have overtaken the politics 
of Islam. Of its principalities the more notable are Marwar, 
and, above all, Mewar, now rapidly rising into a power of the 
first rank. To the south of the Southern Muhammadan belt 
there lies another great Hindu powder, the empire of Vijaya- 
nagar, whose wars with its northern neighbours make up much 
of the history of Southern India during the fifteenth century : 
while to the east lies the Hindu kingdom of Orissa, politically 
of little importance, but acting as a barrier, more or less 
effectual, to the southerly expansion of Bengal. With the 
kingdoms of the Far South we are not concerned. They are 
too remote from Hindustan proper to be of any account in our 
estimate of the political situation of that region. To sum up, 
then, the distribution of political forces in the middle of the 
fifteenth century. There are two great groups of Muhammadan 

^ There was a contemporary Persian saying : 
Badshahi Shah Alam, 
Az Delhi ta Palam. 

** The empire of Shah Alam stretches from Delhi to Palam." Palam is 
a village quite close at hand. 



6 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

powers, each group menaced on the south by a formidable 
Hindu polity. I propose to outline in the briefest possible 
manner, the development of each of these kingdoms, so that, 
at the end of our survey, we may be in a position to form some 
estimate of the political forces which have to be reckoned with 
in Hindustan at the opening of the sixteenth century. We 
shall find it, I think, most convenient to start from the south, 
and work upwards, finally concentrating the knowledge we have 
acquired upon a single central point — ^the Afghan Kingdom 
of Delhi. 

The origin of the great Hindu empire of Vijayanagar is very 
obscure. It certainly took its rise from the confusion into 
which the terrible raids of Muhammad bin Tughlak plunged 
the somewhat decadent Hindu states of the south. Suddenly 
awakened to the necessity of opposing to the forces of Islam 
some fresh political combination, two Kanarese feudatories of 
the recently extinguished Hoysala power, Bakka and Harihara, 
erected a new empire upon the ruins of many old ones. Little 
is known of the personality of the first two rulers : both must 
have been strong men, possessed of political insight, for their 
kingdom grew with amazing rapidity. Bakka is said to have 
reigned from 1334 to 1367, and his brother from 1367 to 1391. 
Half a century after Harihara's death, the kingdom was 
visited by an Arabian ambassador named Abd-ur-razzak, 
who has left in his book Matla-us-Sadain, a striking descrip- 
tion of its power and prosperity. From this description the 
following extracts are taken ; — 

** From our former relation, and well-adjusted narrative, well- 
informed readers will have ascertained that the writer Abd-ur-razzak 
had arrived at the city of Vijayanagar. There he saw a city ex- 
ceedingly large and populous, and a king of great power and dominion, 
whose kingdom extended from the borders of Sarandip to those of 
Gulbarga, and from Bengal to Malabar, a space of more than 1000 
parasangs. The country is for the most part well cultivated and 
fertile, and about three hundred good seaports belong to it. There 
are more than 1000 elephants, lofty as the hills and gigantic as 
demons. The army consists of eleven lacs of men (1,100,000). lu 



INTEODUCTION 7 

the whole of Hindustan there is no rai more absolute. Rai is the 
title by which the kings of that country are designated. 

" The city of Vijayanagar is such that eye has not seen nor ear 
heard of any place resembling it upon the whole earth. It is so built 
that it has seven fortified walls, one within the other. Beyond the 
circuit of the outer wall there is an esplanade extending for about 
fifty yards, in which stones are fixed near one another to the height 
of a man ; one half is buried firmly in the earth, and the other half 
rises above it, so that neither foot nor horse, however bold, can 
advance with facility near the outer wall. 

*' The fortress is in the form of a circle, situated on the summit of 
a hill, and is made of stone and mortar, with strong gates, where 
guards are always posted, who are very diligent in the collection of 
taxes (jizyat). 

"The seventh fortress is placed in the centre of the others, and 
occupies ground ten times greater than the chief market of Hirat. 
In that is situated the palace of the king. From the northern gate 
of the outer fortress to the southern is a distance of two statute 
parasangs, and the same with respect to the distance between the 
eastern and western gates. Between the first, second, and third 
walls, there are cultivated fields, gardens, and houses. From the 
third to the seventh fortress, shops and bazars are closely crowded 
together. By the palace of the king there are four bazars, situated 
opposite to one another. That which lies to the north is the im- 
perial palace or abode of the Rai. At the head of each bazar, there 
is a lofty arcade and magnificent gallery, but the palace of the king 
is loftier than all of them. The bazars are very broad and long, so 
that the sellers of flowers, notwithstanding that they place high 
stands before their shops, are yet able to sell flowers from both sides. 
Sweet-scented flowers are always procurable fresh in that city, and 
they are considered as necessary sustenance, seeing that without them 
the people could not even exist. The tradesmen of each separate 
guild or craft have their shops close to one another. The jewellers 
sell their rubies and pearls and diamonds and emeralds openly in 
the bazar. . . . 

" This country is so well populated that it is impossible in a reason- 
able space to convey an idea of it. In the king's treasury there are 
chambers, with excavations in them, filled with molten gold, form- 
ing one mass. All the inhabitants of the country, whether high or 
low, even down to the artificers of the bazar, wear jewels and gilt 



8 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 
ornaments in their ears and around their necks, arms, wrists, and 



But what, it may be asked, can have been the political 
importance to Hindustan in the fifteenth century of a kingdom 
so remote ? Briefly the answer is as follows. The Rayas of 
Vijayanagar were engaged in a constant struggle with the 
states constituting what I have called the Southern Muham- 
madan belt, weakening their resources, disturbing their com- 
binations, threatening their safety, and thus effectually 
preventing any one of them from acquiring such an ascend- 
ance over the others as would have exposed Rajputana to a 
combined attack from its enemies on the south. Such is the 
political influence of Vijayanagar during the fifteenth century ; 
and, in smaller degree, the same may be said of its much less 
important sister state Orissa. 

This brings us to the Southern belt of Muhammadan 
powers, and first of all, to the great Bahmanid kingdom of the 
Deccan. Like all the Muhammadan kingdoms of the day, it 
found its origin in a successful revolt from Delhi. The Deccan 
provinces having become troublesome, a court favourite named 
Zafar Khan, surnamed Bahmani, was despatched to reduce 
them to order. Finding his task to his liking, he declared 
himself independent in 1347, under the title of Ala-ud din. 
Until his death in 1358, he reigned prosperously over a vast 
dominion, stretching from Berar on the north to the River 
Krishna on the south, and from the ocean on the west to 
Indore on the east.'* His son Muhammad, who succeeded 

1 Elliot and Dowson, iv. 106-107. 

* Zafar Khan seems to have made a great impression upon the men 
of his day, to judge from the number of legends which deal with his rise 
from obscurity to eminence. The favourite story is this : In his youth 
he was the servant of a Brahman, named Ganga. While ploughing his 
master's field, the young man turned up a pot of gold coins, which he 
promptly delivered to his master. Ganga, struck by the honesty of the 
servant, oast his horoscope, and, discovering that he was destined for 
great things, had him educated along with his own sons. When a suit- 
able opportunity offered, the young man was taken to Delhi, where he 
quickly rose to favour and eminence. It was in gratitude to his old 
master, the legend runs, that Zafar Khan assumed the surname Bah- 
mani. 



INTRODUCTION 9 

him, was a mighty man of valour, who found ample scope for 
his fighting proclivities in struggles with his powerful neigh- 
bour, Vijayanagar. The kingdoms were for some time equally 
matched, but there is no doubt, despite the partialities of 
Muhammadan historians, that the expansion of the Bahmanid 
kingdom was effectually checked, so that later monarchs were 
fain to devote themselves more particularly to the arts of peace. 
Of these rulers the most notable was Firoz Shah (1397-1422), 
who may be called the Akbar of the South. Talented and eccen- 
tric,^ eclectic in his religion, a great builder, as the ruins of 
his capital Gulbarga yet witness, he presided beneficently over 
the golden age of his people. But perhaps the most notable 
thing about the Bahmanid empire is the disproportion which 
existed between its vast size and resources, and its small 
political importance. The explanation has already been 
furnished. But for the restraining influence of Vijayanagar, 
the Bahmanid kingdom might well have proved the centre of 
a fresh Muhammadan polity, embracing all Hindustan. As it 
was, its power rapidly declined. The dynasty became deca- 
dent. From 1450 onwards the extensive territory was only held 
together by the ability and energy of the famous Mahmud 
Gawan, whose courage, honesty and enlightenment have passed 
into a bye-word. After his unjust execution in 1481,2 the 
kingdom split up gradually into a number of independent 
states, of which the most important were Berar (1484-1527), 
Ahmadnagar (1489-1633), Bijapur (1489-1686), and Golconda 

^ Firoz Shah is said to have had an extremely cultivated taste in 
wine and women — particularly the latter. His haram was popularly 
supposed to contain ladies of every known nationality. Occidental as well 
as Oriental. It was the king's proudest boast that he could converse 
with every fair one in her own tongue. 

* The false accusation and violent death of this upright minister 
constitute one of the tragedies of mediaeval India. His enemies forged 
a letter under his seal, which purported to invite the Raja of Orissa to 
invade the kingdom. The date of his judicial murder is commemorated 
in the two popular tarikhs : 

Qutl-i-na haqq. (" The unjust slaying.") 
Bi gonah, Mahmud Oawan shahid shud. {" Guiltless, Mahmud 
Gawan became a martyr.") 



10 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

(1612-1687). From this multiplication of kingdoms there 
resulted, of course, a grave diminution of Muhammadan power 
in Central India at the opening of the sixteenth century. 

North of the Bahmanid realm, lay the small and relatively 
insignificant kingdom of Khandesh, which derived its origin 
from the day when Firoz bin Tughlak appointed one Malik 
Raja Farrukhi ^ governor of the country between the Satpura- 
Vindhia range and the Deccan plateau. Malik Raja shortly 
declared his independence, and ruled his small realm wisely 
and well until his death in 1399. His successor, Malik Nasir, 
attempted to interfere in the Deccan wars, but, as might be 
expected from the meagreness of his resources, with indifferent 
success. Under the last notable monarch, Adil Khan Farrukhi 
(1457-1503), great progress was made in the civilisation of the 
country. The manufacture of gold and silver cloth, as well 
as the making of fine muslins, which still remain the staple 
industries, were then introduced under state encouragement. 
For some time the little kingdom lingered on as a political 
entity, protected by its very insignificance, until at last 
Akbar's reign saw its close. Like the small states of fifteenth- 
century Italy, it was the home of much quiet prosperity. Its 
political importance is slender : but it affords a good example 
of the manner in which the amenities of life may flourish under 
conditions which prohibit the exercise of the arts of politics. 

North again of Khandesh, lay the kingdom of Malwa. At 
first governed by a local Rajput dynasty, the land had been 
annexed in 1304 by Ala-ud-din Kliilji. Its independence 
dates from the appointment of Dilawar Khan Ghori, a Delhi 
nobleman, as viceroy in 1387. Quickly consolidating his 
position, in 1401 he declared himself king, founding a state 

^ The story of this man's rise to favour, as told in the popular legend, 
is, whether true or false, typical of contemporary manneis. Sultan 
Firoz, when on a hunting expedition, found himself separated from his 
retinue as night fell. He came upon the fire of a solitary hunter, who 
invited him to share the meal which was being prepared. So excellent 
was the camp-cooking that the Sultan, revealing his identity, promptly 
took the stranger into his service. From this day onwards, MaUk's rise 
was so rapid that the surname Farrukhi (fortunate) was bestowed upon 
him, and by him was transmitted to the dynasty he founded. 



INTRODUCTION 11 

which lasted until 1531. On the subsequent history of the 
kingdom we cannot dwell : suffice it to say that throughout 
the whole of its short career, Malwa suffered by its proximity 
to the rising Rajput power of Mewar, which was far too strong 
for it. Hoshang Shah (1405-1435), the greatest of its kings, 
succeeded in holding his own for some time : but towards the 
end of his reign, the great Rana Kumbha of Mewar proved 
irresistible. In 1440 the ambitious Mahmud Khan Khilji, 
who, as Wazir, had seized the throne in 1435, was ignominiously 
defeated and captured by the Rajputs under Rana Kumbha. 
By the end of the fifteenth century the affairs of the kingdom 
are completely dominated by Rajputs. Hindus occupy the 
leading positions in the state : and the famous Rajput chieftain 
Medni Rao plays the part of kingmaker. When the puppet 
king Mahmud II., wearied of Hindu domination, invokes the 
aid of the King of Gujarat, Medni Rao calls in Rana Singram 
Singh of Mewar, who not only hales Mahmud captive to Chitor 
in 1519, but carries war into the sphere of Gujarat by storm- 
ing and capturing Ahmadnagar in 1520. It is in the internal 
politics of Malwa that we see most clearly the working of that 
growing Rajput predominance which is the leading factor in 
the political situation at the beginning of the sixteenth century. 
Last of the Muhammadan kingdoms of the South, comes 
Gujarat. This province had been conquered by the forces of 
Islam in 1196, and continued to be subject to the Kings of 
Delhi, at any rate in name, until the time of Timur's invasion. 
For the whole of the previous decade signs of disorder had been 
apparent : and Muzaffar Khan, an administrator of marked 
ability, had been despatched from Delhi to restore good govern- 
ment. Throwing off the yoke of the Sultan, he set up in 1396 
an independent kingdom which lasted until 1572. In 1410 
Muzaffar was poisoned by his grandson, Ahmad Shah, who, 
despite the unpromising beginning of his reign, proved an able 
and successful ruler. He made head against the great Sultan 
Hoshang of Malwa, he regulated the army, he placed the 
finances upon a sound footing, and he laid the foundation for 
the future greatness of Gujarat under Sultan Mahmud Bigarha 



12 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

(1459-1511). This ruler, whose reign is still remembered as 
a golden age, was singularly fortunate both in home and foreign 
politics. Not only did he maintain good peace, and encourage 
trade : he succeeded, in addition, in opposing the formidable 
Rajput confederacy, extending his dominions by the conquest 
of Junahgarh and Champanir. His successor, MuzafEar II., 
was, however, less favoured by fortune. In attempting to 
prevent Malwa from falling entirely under Hindu domination, 
he became involved in a disastrous war with Mewar. At hie 
death, there was a disputed succession ; and when Babur 
entered India on his fifth expedition, he found Gujarat dis- 
tracted by internal troubles. 

We now come to Rajputana, which at the close of the 
fifteenth century has begun once more to loom large on the 
political horizon. Mewar, long recognised as the premier 
state of the Rajput confederacy, had been raised to great 
power under the able Kumbha, whose reign of fifty years 
(1419-69) witnessed the erection of thirty-two out of the 
eighty-four fortresses by which his realm was defended. He 
successfully resisted all the attempts of his Muhammadan 
neighbours to check his rising power, and in 1440, at the head 
of forces estimated at the figure of 100,000 horse and foot 
and 1400 elephants, he inflicted a crushing defeat upon the 
combined forces of Malwa and Gujarat. After his murder in 
1469, his work was carried on by his successor Rai ^lal, whose 
reign was, however, disturbed by the far-famed feuds of three 
knightly sons, Singram Singh, Prithwi Raj, and Jai Mai. At 
length in 1509, Singram Singh succeeded. to the throne by the 
death of his brothers. In his reign, Mewar reached the zenith 
of her glory. " Eighty thousand horse, seven rajas of the 
highest rank, one hundred and four chieftains with five hundred 
war elephants, followed him into the field," He controlled, 
directly or indirectly, the entire resources of Rajasthan. 
Eighteen pitched battles did he gain against the Kings of Delhi 
and Malwa : no force in Hindustan could face him in the field. 
As Shaikh Zain afterwards wrote : *' There was not a single 
ruler of the first rank in all these great countries like Delhi, 



INTRODUCTION 13 

Gujarat, and Mandu, who was able to make head against him. 
The banners of the infidel flaunted over two hundred cities 
inhabited by people of the Faith." Such was the power of the 
Hindu confederacy, and such the decline of the resources of 
Islam, when the balance was once more turned against the 
Rajputs by the coming of Babux and his Turkish warriors from 
the north. 

The Muhammadan states of the Northern Circle need not 
occupy much of our time. The little province of Sindh, the 
scene of the earliest advance of Islam into India, was too 
remote from Delhi to be effectually controlled from the capital. 
In the course of the thirteenth century the local Rajput 
dynasty, the Sumeras, had been subdued : but in 1336 another 
Rajput dynasty, the Jams of the Sumana tribe, re-established 
their independence. They ruled the kingdom until 1520, when 
it was conquered by Shah Beg Arghun, the governor of Qanda- 
har, who was seeking a realm which would remove him from 
the sphere of Babur's activities. Shah Beg's son, Shah Husain, 
consolidated his conquest by annexing Multan and extinguish- 
ing the local Lunga dynasty. The province was finally re- 
united to Delhi in 1590, and throughout the whole of its history 
exercised but little influence upon the politics of Hindustan. 

Bengal now demands a word. From the earliest days of its 
conquest by the Muhammadans, it had manifested a self- 
sufficiency which had tended to isolate it from the main stream 
of politics. It continued in nominal subjection to Delhi 
throughout the thirteenth century, but in the reign of Muham- 
mad bin Tughlak it revolted. After a brief period of complete 
anarchy, the power was seized by Shams -ud-din, who ruled 
from 1344 to 1357. The dynasty he founded lasted until 1386, 
when after another period of anarchy, the throne came into 
the possession of a Hindu zamindar named Raja Kans, whose 
family reigned until 1426. During most of the fifteenth 
century, power continued in the hands of the Abyssinian 
mercenaries, who constituted the royal bodyguard ; and in 
1461 Malik Andil, a slave, ascended the throne with their 
support. He ruled in great splendour for more than thirty 



14 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

years, maintaining excellent order, encouraging trade, and 
building lavishly, but taking little share in external politics. 
He founded no dynasty, and before the beginning of the 
sixteenth century a successful revolution had placed the 
Wazir, Saiyid Sharif, on the throne with the title of Ala-ud-din. 
He reigned until 1523, when he was succeeded by Nasib, his 
son. As may be gathered from this brief survey, Bengal was 
of small importance as a factor in the politics of Hindustan. 
It interfered very little with its neighbours : it was commercial, 
literary, and artistic. 

The same may well be said of Jaunpur, at any rate, in the 
heyday of its prosperity. As an independent kingdom, it 
dates from 1394, the time when Mahmud bin Tughlak raised 
his minister, the eunuch Khwaja Jahan, to the governorship 
of the country which constitutes the bulk of the United Pro- 
vinces of modern India. The governor soon declared himself 
independent, with the title Malik-us-sharq} Under his 
adopted son, Ibrahim Shah (1401-1440), the power of the 
kingdom ruled from Jaunpur grew apace. That monarch 
maintained his independence, consolidated his dominions, 
kept clear of foreign politics, and devoted himself to the 
encouragement of architecture, industry, and agriculture. 
Under his peaceful rule the kingdom grew compact and 
strong — so much so, indeed, that his successor, Mahmud 
Shah (1440-57), felt himself encouraged to make a bid for 
empire on the extinction of the Saiyid dynasty. But Bahlol 
Lodi, the Viceroy of the Panjab, proved at once too quick and 
too powerful, so that Mahmud was forced to an ignominious 
retreat. His death in 1457 was followed by a period of intrigue 
and murder, from which emerged triumphant the last of the 
Sharqi kings, Husain Shah. Vain, ambitious, but able withal, 
he conquered Orissa from its ancient Hindu dynasty ; he 
attacked Gwalior, and forced the Raja to pay tribute. But 
unfortunately for himself, in 1473 he was led to make an un- 
provoked attack upon Bahlol Lodi. The Delhi monarch, like 
the honest man he was, attempted to make terms ; but all 
* King or Prince of the East 



INTRODUCTION 15 

accommodation having proved impossible, he marched out, 
defeated the aggressor in three pitched battles, and seized his 
enemy's capital, Jaunpur. Five years later, the eastern 
realm was formally re-annexed to Delhi. 

We now come to the Kingdom of Delhi itself, of which the 
hisk)ry is too well known to detain us long. In 1451, the so- 
called Saiyid dynasty came to an end by the abdication of the 
feeble Shah Alam, and the powerful Afghan families who ruled 
the Panjab in his name put forward their own most prominent 
man, Bahlol of the Sahu Khail, of the Lodi tribe. He was a 
good fighter, a simple-natured man who hated display, but above 
all things, a far-sighted politician, who based his power upon 
the allegiance of men of his own blood, and realised to the full 
the manner in which this allegiance was to be won and retained. 

The following extract from the Tarilch-i-Daudi illustrates 
the impression he made upon contemporaries ^ : — 

" In his social meetings he never sat on a throne, and would not 
allow his nobles to stand ; and even during public audiences, he did not 
occupy the throne, but seated himself upon a carpet. Whenever 
he wrote a firman to his nobles, he addressed them as Masnad 'Ali ; 
and if at any time they were displeased with him, he tried so hard to 
pacify them that he would himself go to their houses, ungird his 
sword from bis waist, and place it before the offended party : nay, 
he would sometimes even take off his turban from his head, and 
solicit forgiveness, saying: ' If you think me unworthy of the 
station I occupy, choose some one else, and bestow on me some other 
office.' He maintained a brotherly intercourse with all his chiefs and 
soldiers. If any one was ill, he would himself go and attend on him." 

Being blessed \vith a disposition of this kind, Bahlol was 
able as King of Delhi to confirm the allegiance of the tribesmen 
with whose help he had formerly ruled the Panjab. Delhi and 
its surroundings were quickly reduced to order by his strong 
hand, and towards the end of his reign he was able, as we have 
already seen, to re-annex the kingdom of Jaunpur, which had 
been independent for three-quarters of a century. His power 
was, however, personal rather than official, resting as it did 

1 Elliot and Dowson, iv. 436-437. 



16 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

upon the swords of his tribesmen, who lent him their sup- 
port, not because he was king, but because he was a popular 
hereditary chieftain. The Tarikh-i-Sher ShaM is full of pas- 
sages which throw a vivid light upon his peculiar position. 
The following is an example : 

" Sultan Bahlol was at Dipalpur when he heard the distressing 
intelligence of the siege of Delhi, and he said to his nobles and 
ministers : ' The countries of Hind are broad and rich, and their 
kings are of Indian extraction. In my own land I have many 
kinsmen renowned for their valour and strength, who are pressed for 
a livelihood. Were they here they would be relieved from the con- 
tempt of poverty, and I could grasp Hind and destroy my enemies.* 

" His chiefs replied : ' ... It is expedient under present circum- 
stances that His Majesty the Sultan should send letters to the chiefs 
of the tribes in the Roh country to this effect : " God in His goodness 
has granted the kingdom of Delhi to the Afghans, but the other 
kings of Hind wish to expel them from the country. The honour of 
our women is concerned ; the lands of Hind are broad and rich, and 
can afford maintenance to many. Come, then, to this country ; the 
name indeed of sovereignty shall remain with me, but whatever 
countries we may conquer shall be shared between us as brothers. 
Sultan Mahmud is now besieging Delhi, where the families of the 
Afghans are. If you feel disposed to assist me, you must do so now, 
and with a large force." ' . . . The king, approving of this advice, 
issued firmans to the chiefs of the various Afghan tribes. On receipt 
of the finnans, the Afghans of Roh came, as is their wont, like ants 
and locusts, to enter the king's service." ^ 

That the new monarchy he founded was largely personal is 
proved by the history of his son and successor, Nizam Khan, 
who ruled as Sultan Sikandar from 1489 to 1517. He ascended 
the throne without serious opposition, but found that his 
father's place was one not easy to fill. Although he was nomi- 
nal ruler over the Panjab, Delhi and Jaunpur, the country 
was actually in the hands of vassals upon whose allegiance his 
power depended. As the author of the Waqi'at-i-Mushtaki s&ys : 

*' One half of the whole country was assigned in ja^ir to the 
Farmulis, and the other half to the other Afghan tribes. At this 
1 Elliot and Dowson. iv. 306-307. 



INTRODUCTION 17 

time the Lohanis and Farmulis predominated. The districts of 
Saran and Champaran were held by Mian Husain ; Oudh, Ambala 
and Hodhna by Mian Muhammad Kala Pahar : Kanauj by Mian 
Gadai : Shamsabad, Thanesar, and Shahabad by Mian 'Imad : 
Marahra by Tatar Khan, brother of Mian Muhammad: and 
Hariana, Desua, and other detached parganas by Khwajagi Shaikh 
Said. 

'* The chief of the Sarwanis was Azam Humayun, and the prin- 
cipal chieftains of the Lodis were four : — Mahmud Khan, who had 
Kalpi in jagir : Mian 'Alam, to whom Etawah and Chandwa were 
assigned : Mubarak Khan whose jagir was Lucknow : and Daulat 
Khan who held Lahore. Among the Sahu-Khails, the chiefs were 
Husain Khan and Khan Jahan, both from the same ancestor as 
Sultan Bahlol ; Husain Khan, son of Firoz Khan, and Qutb Khan 
Lodi Sahu-Khail. 

" Some kept great establishments. Azam Humayun, Jagirdar 
of Karra, used to buy 2000 copies of the Qoran every year, had 
45,000 horse under his command, and 700 elephants. Among 
those of lesser note, were Daulat Khan, who had 4000 cavalry : 
Ali Khan Ushe, who had 4000 also : Firoz Khan Sarwani, who 
had 6000. Among other nobles, there were 26,000 more dis- 
tributed. Ahmad Khan also, the son of Jumal Khan Lodi Sarang 
Khani, when he was appointed to Jaunpur, had 20,000 cavalry 
under him." 

This period of openhanded rule was subsequently regretted 
as a Golden Age. The historians of the Afghan dynasty, 
writing in the time of the Mughal emperors, are never tired of 
describing the good old days of Sultan Sikandar. The following 
is a typical extract ^ : 

" Every business had its appointed time, and an established 
custom was never changed. . . . He always behaved to the nobles 
and great men of his time in the way he did on the first day of the 
interview. . . . Every chief had his appointed post in his presence, 
where he always stood. The Sultan daily received an account of the 
prices of all things, and an account of what had happened in the 
different districts of the Empire. If he perceived the slightest 
appearance of anything wrong, he caused instant inquiries to be 
made about it. . . . In his reign, business was carried on in a 

1 Elliot and Dawson, iv. 448-449. 

C 



18 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

peaceful, honest, straightforward way. A new sort of life obtained, 
for people high and low were polite, and seK-respect, integrity and 
devotion to religion prevailed, like as had never been the case in 
former reigns. The study of belles lettres was not neglected. . . • 
Factory establishments were so encouraged that all the young nobles 
and soldiers were engaged in useful works. . . . All the nobles and 
soldiers of Sikandar were satisfied : each of his chiefs was appointed 
to the government of a district, and it was his especial desire to gain 
the good-will and affections of the body of the people. For the sake 
of his officers and troops, he put an end to war and disputes with 
the other monarchs and nobles of the period, and closed the 
road to contention and strife. He contented himself with the 
territory bequeathed him by his father, and passed the whole of his 
life in the greatest safety and enjoyment, and gained the hearts of 
high and low." 

It may well be imagined that a tactless or unpopular ruler 
could involve this strange polity in inextricable confusion. 
Sikandar's son, Ibrahim, though brave, was haughty, morose, 
and suspicious. The result was disastrous. Not only did he 
alienate the nobles upon whose support his power rested : not 
only did he drive into active opposition the very men he ought 
to have conciliated at all hazards : but, to make matters worse, 
he attempted to play the tyrant. His cruelties and crimes 
destroyed all the good work of his father and grandfather. 
The kingdom of Delhi was distracted : the Panjab and Jaun- 
pur were in open revolt ; twice had Ibrahim been defeated by 
theRajputs.i 

Such, then, was the political situation in Hindustan at the 
opening of the sixteenth century. The Muhammadan powers 
were weak, distracted by their own divisions ; the Rajput 
confederacy, led by Mewar, was almost ready to seize the 
empire which lay within its grasp. But the Fates willed 
otherwise. That Singram Singh was cheated of his prize, that 
the forces of Islam were re-established, that the Rajputs were 
doomed to endure rather than enjoy, was the result achieved 

> Tod, Annals of MewcWt chapter is 



INTKODUCTION 19 

by a single remarkable individual, Zahir-ud-din Muhammad, 
surnamed Babur, the Tiger.'- It is with his life-story, perhaps 
the most romantic in the whole course of Oriental history, that 
the following pages are concerned. 

1 As Mr. Vincent Smith has pointed out {Akhar, 9, note 2), the Turki 
word Babur (tigris regalis) has no connection with the Arabic Babar, " a 
lion." Cf. Redhouse, Turkish Lexicon, and Steingass, Persian- English 
Dictionary y s.n. 



CHAPTER I 

THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 

Authorities. — Babur - nama : Tarikh - i - Rashidi : Habib - ua • 8iyar : 
Shaibani Nama : Ahsan-ut-Tawarikh. 
Modern Works. — Erskine : Lane Poole. 

BULEBS AT THE TIME OF BaBUE'S ACCESSION 

Sultan Mahmud Khan (elder maternal uncle) — ^Tashkint, Sairam, 
Shahrukhia. 

Sultan Ahmad Khan (younger maternal imole) — ^Region between 
Tashkint and Yelduz. 

Sultan Ahmad Mirza (elder paternal uncle) — Samarkand and Bokhara. 

Sultan Mahmud Mirza (yoimger paternal uncle) — Hisar, Badakhshan, 
and Qunduz. 

Sultan Ulugh Beg Mirza (youngest paternal uncle) — ^Kabul and 
Ghazni. 

Sultan Husain Mirza Baiqara (head of the House of Timur in power) 
— ^Khorasan and Herat. 

" In the month of Ramzan of the [Hijra] year 899,i in the 
twelfth year of my age,2 I became ruler in the country of 
Fargbana." 3 

With these words, abruptly enough, Babur begins the story 
of his adventurous life, and from the first to the last page of his 
thick volume, our interest in the man and his writings never for 
one moment flags. But before we can fairly take up our task 
of tracing his career from its beginning in a petty principality 
of Turkistan to its close in the empire of Hind, we must spend 
a short space in making clear who he was, and what were the 
circumstances of his accession. 

1 Babur's father, 'Umar Shaikh, was killed on June 8th, 1494 
(Ramzan 4, 899 A.H,). 

2 Babur was bom on Friday, February 14th, 1483 (Muharram 6, 
888 A.H.). 

' A. S. Beveridge,';^! and n. 



22 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

As has often been remarked, Babur could trace descent 
from the two greatest empire builders who have ever afflicted 
Asia — Temujin, surnamed Chingiz Khan and Timur the Lame. 
On his father's side, he was a direct descendant, in the fifth 
generation, of Timur, while through his mother he could trace 
his origin, in the fourteenth degree, from Chingiz.^ We are 
not concerned here with these remoter roots of Babur's family- 
tree, except to point out that if the forces of heredity count 
for anything in the shaping of a man's career, Nature would 
seem to have done her utmost to make Babur a conqueror by 
instinct. We shall, however, find it necessary to say a word 
about his paternal and maternal grandfathers, in order to 
make it apparent that the Fates had joined forces with 
Nature to make him a conqueror by environment, surrounded 
from his earliest infancy by an atmosphere of intrigue and 
ambition. 

Babur's grandfather on his father's side, the Timurid 

1 Babur's paternal descent is as follows : — 
Amir Timur 

Mirza Miran Shah 

Sultan Muhammad Mirza 

Sultan Abu Saiyid Mirza 

Sultan 'Umar Shaikh Mirza 

I 



Babur Jahangir Nasir Khanzada Mihr Banu Shahar Yadgar 

Begam Banu Sultan 
Begam Begam 



Rakiya Sultan 
Begam. 

On his mother's side it ran as follows : — His mother, Kutluk-nigar 
Khanum, daughter of Yimus Khan, the son of Wais Khan, the son of Shir 
Ali Khan, the son of Muhammad Khwaja Khan, the son of Khizr Khwaja 
Khan, the son of Tughlak Timur Khan, the son of Isan-bugha Khan, the 
son of Dawa Chichan, the son of Borak Khan (Ghias-ud-din), the son of 
Sukar, the son of Kamgar, the son of Chaghatai, the son of Chingiz. 
(Erskine, i. 78; P. de Courteille, i. 17-18). 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 23 

Sultan Abu Saiyid Mirza, after many perils and reverses of 
fortune, succeeded in conquering the land of Mawerannaher 
or Transoxiana, which had belonged to his uncle, and in 
extending his kingdom over Khorasan as far as Mekran and 
the Indus. His capital was Herat, and from it for twenty 
years he ruled his extensive dominions in great power and 
prosperity until 1469, when he met his death in the famous 
" disaster of Iraq." i Venturing into the province of Azer- 
baijan, for the purpose of settling a dispute between two 
Turkoman tribes of that region, he was entrapped with his 
whole force in a narrow defile near Ardebil. He himself 
perished, and of his large army but few returned to bear the 
heavy tidings to Herat. So great had been the slaughter that 
the day was long remembered ; and throughout Transoxiana 
was regarded as a fixed point in time from which other dates 
were reckoned. On the death of Sultan Abu„ Saiyid, his 
dominions were divided amongst his sons, of whom four became 
independent rulers. Sultan Ahmad Mirza, the eldest, suc- 
ceeded in occupying the heart of his father's kingdom, the 
far-famed provinces of Samarkand and Bokhara, the very name 
of which was a synonym for culture, luxury and wealth. 
Sultan Mahmud Mirza, the third son, became ruler of Badak- 
shan, Khutlan, and other provinces lying between the Hindu 
Kush and the Asfera mountains. Ulugh Beg Mirza retained 
the government of Kabul and Ghazni, which he had held during 
the lifetime of his father. The fourth son, 'Umar Shaikh 
Mirza, Babur's father, also succeeded in retaining his own 
appanage, the kingdom of Farghana. 

Farghana, now a small province of Russian Turkistan 
about 50,000 square miles in extent, is a fertile country, of fairly 
equable climate, very rich in fruit and in crops, abounding in 
small game of every description. A well-marked geographical 
unit, it is hedged round with lofty mountains on all sides save 
the west. Through gaps in these mountains the great river 
Sirr flows from west to east, dividing the ridge-rimmed plain 
into two unequal portions, so that of the seven principal 
1 Tarikh-i-Bashidi. 



24 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

administrative districts, two lie north of the river, and five to 
the south of it. From the military point of view, Farghana 
in the time of Babur presents some interesting points. Briefly, 
the situation is somewhat as follows. The most prosperous 
districts, those at which an invader would naturally aim, lie 
to the south of the river. Of this southern region the chief 
town is Andijan, which has always been the capital of the 
whole province. In the fifteenth century, it was a well- 
fortified place. Slightly to the west of Andijan lies another, 
weaker, city, Marghilan, and to the south, some distance away, 
is Ush. But the real key to Farghana, the strong fortress 
of Akhsi, lies to the north of the river, guarding the western 
approach — ^the only path by which a considerable force can 
penetrate into the heart of the country. When once Akhsi 
had fallen to an invader, the districts north of the Sirr were 
in his power. He could then choose his place for forcing the 
next line of defence, the river itself. When that had been 
accomplished, he could overrun the fertile plain between the 
stream and the mountains, compelling the inhabitants to take 
refuge in the cities of Andijan and Marghilan, which he could 
besiege at his leisure, master of all the resources of the country. 
As may well be imagined, however, these resources were 
not very considerable. Farghana did not offer much en- 
couragement to a ruler who designed to set his foot upon the 
path of conquest. None the less, 'Umar Shaikh Mirza, Babur's 
father, being a man of little caution and less scruple, was con- 
stantly on the watch for an opportunity to interfere to his 
own advantage in the affairs of his neighbours. His particular 
antagonists, as generally happened at this period, were members 
of his own family. With his elder brother, Sultan Ahmad 
Mirza, his relations were persistently hostile.* More than one 
reason contributed to this. In the first place, the restless 
'Umar Shaikh coveted the possessions of his more fortunate 
brother, and was perpetually intriguing against him. Sultan 
Ahmad, of course, replied by menacing the borders of Farghana 
with a powerful force, and by attempting, more than once, to 

1 Tarikh-i-Rashidi Cf. also P. de Courteille, i. 14 : IlminBki, 9. 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 25 

add Farghanato his own dominions. 'Umar Shaikh, well aware 
of the inferiority of his own resources, was afraid of his brother, ^ 
as well as envious of him. Finally, there was a constant bone 
of contention between the two in the shape of the border 
provinces of Tashkint and Shahrukhia, to which each laid claim. 

The contest was very unequal, on account of the immense 
superiority in material resources possessed by the elder brother ; 
and there can be no doubt that what made it possible f oif 'Umar 
Shaikh to continue the struggle was the constant support 
afforded him by his father-in-law, Babur's maternal grand- 
father, Yunus Khan.^ 

Yunus Khan was aescended in the twelfth degree from the 
great Chingiz, and was the eldest son of that Wais who had 
held rule as Grand Khan of the Mongols. i He did not, how- 
ever, succeed his father in the normal manner ; for the free 
and independent tribesmen having selected his younger brother, 
Yunus was compelled to abandon Mongolistan, and live for 
many years as an exile at the court of the ruler of Badakhshan. 
Here he acquired such an education as fell to the lot of few of 
his compatriots : he lost the rough habits which were the 
reproach of the nomadic tribes over which his family held 
sway, acquiring instead the manners and customs of an educated 
Persian gentleman. At the age of forty, he was suddenly 
called out of his life of cultured ease by Sultan Abu Saiyid 
Mirza — ^the same who afterwards perished in the " disaster of 
Iraq " — and persuaded to reassert his pretensions to the 
Grand Khanate of the Mongols. (With the support of his 
patron, he succeeded after many vicissitudes in vindicating 
his claim) and in the year 1465-66 was acknowledged as Grand 
Khan. When Sultan Abu Saiyid and his army were cut off, 
Yunus Khan applied all his great resources in assisting the sons 
of his benefactor. He married three of his daughters to the 
three Mirzas, Sultan Ahmad Mirza of Samarkand, Sultan 
Mahmud Mirza of Badakhshan, and Sultan 'Umar Shaikh 
Mirza of Farghana. He was thus placed in an admirable 

* Throughout this book the word Mongol is used in the narrower 
ethnological sense : the word Mughal in the broader popular sense. 



26 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

position to play the part of mediator in the quarrels of his 
sons-in-law : and being a man of singularly upright and lovable 
character, his authority was great among them. He had a 
particular affection for 'Umar Shaikh : and time and time 
again interfered to save his favourite from the consequences 
of his unwisdom. On one occasion in particular, when Sultan 
Ahmad and 'Umar Shaikh were confronting one another in 
battle array, he threw his resources into the scale on the side 
of the weaker, and thus produced a postponement of hostilities 
until the famous saint Khwaja Nasir-ud-din 'UbaiduUa, who 
had hurried to the spot, was able to patch up a treaty of peace.^ 
But perhaps the most eloquent testimony to the respect in 
which the Grand Khan was held by all lies in the fact that when 
Sultan Ahmad and 'Umar Shaikh failed to come to any under- 
standing about the disputed border provinces of Tashkint and 
Shahrukhia, both parties agreed to solve the difficulty by 
handing over to him the lands in question. (It is not, therefore, 
surprising to find that Babur's maternal grandfather made a 
great impression upon contemporaries. Not only did he 
present the paradoxical combination of Mongol blood and 
Persian culture : he possessed in addition a commanding 
personality and great charm of character. The following 
description which has been left by an eye-witness is not without 
interest to us, for there can be little doubt that Babur himself 
had much in common with the Khan his grandfather. 

" I had heard that Yunus Khan was a Mongol, and concluded 
that he was a beardless man, mth the rude manners and deportment 
of an inhabitant of the desert. On the contrary, I found him a 
handsome man with a fine bushy beard, of elegant address, of most 
agreeable and refined manners and conversation, such as are very 
seldom to be met with in the most polished society." 2 

\ So long as Yunus lived, his mediating influence was always 
exerted to mitigate the strife of his sons-in-law : but when he 
died in 1486-7 their struggles broke out with renewed ferocity.) 
We must examine these disputes in brief outline, for upon 

» Tarikh-i'Rashidi ; Erskine, i. 60. » Ibid. 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 27 

them depended the political situation at the time of Babur's 
accession. 

The first consequence of the death of Yunus was the 
reopening of the whole question of Tashkint and Shahrukhia. 
His elder son, Mahmud Khan, who reigned over the tribes round 
about that region, naturally refused to surrender the district ; 
on the other hand, both the Timurid brothers. Sultans Ahmad 
Mirza and 'Umar Shaikh Mirza, claimed that the provinces 
of Tashkint and Shahrukhia had only been held by Yunus 
pending the settlement of the conflicting claims to them. 
'Umar Shaikh, restless as ever, was the first to take action. 
His long years of friendship with Yunus had led him to despise 
the Mongol power. Anxious to get the start of his brother, he 
rashly staked all the resources of his little kingdom on a single 
throw. By a sudden dash he succeeded in gaining possession 
of Ushtur, one of the principal fortresses of Tashkint. But, 
as he ought to have foreseen, he was too weak to hold it in 
face of the superior resources of Mahmud Khan. The *' Elder 
Khan," as he is generally termed, did not even trouble to 
invite the assistance of his younger brother Ahmad, the ruler 
of Northern Mongolistan. He attacked Ushtur immediately 
in person, stormed it after a tremendous fight, and put the 
garrison to the sword. 'Umar Shaikh lost his best troops, and 
for the moment, all power of aggressive action. During his 
period of enforced inactivity, he doubtless had ample time to 
regret his ill-advised attack upon his powerful brother-in-law. i 

It was now the turn of Sultan Ahmad Mirza. The dis- 
comfiture of his brother 'Umar Shaikh must have caused him 
considerable satisfaction : but he himself, despite his superior 
resources, was to fare, if anything, worse than the ruler of 
Farghana. Collecting an army 150,000 strong, he led it 
against Tashkint in the following year. Mahmud Khan 
advanced to meet him, and took up a position between the 
town and the River Sirr. Unluckily for Sultan Ahmad, 
there was in his army a certain Shahi Beg or Shaibani, of whom 
we shall have more to say.^ This man made overtures to 
^ Tarikh-i-Rashidi. * Shaibani Nama : also s.n. in Index. 



28 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Mahmud Khan, and arranged to bring about the discomfiture 
of his own side. What happened was this. Mahmud Khan 
allowed his adversary to cross the river which separated the 
two armies, and then suddenly attacked him in front. The 
treacherous Shaibani fell at the same time on his rear. Taken 
on both sides, the army of Sultan Ahmad was thrown into con- 
fusion, and finally driven into the river it had just crossed. 
The slaughter was terrible, and large numbers of the troops 
perished in the Sirr. This disaster was to have an important 
bearing upon the fortunes of Babur. 

( Sultan Ahmad returned to Samarkand with a wholesome 
respect for the power of Mahmud Kian. After a short time, 
an alliance was arranged between the late antagonists i and 
Sultan Ahmad gave one of his daughters in marriage to Malimud. 
But 'Umar Shaikh of Farghana was incapable of learning by 
experience. So soon as ever he could collect sufficient resources 
to bring an army into the field, he recommenced his old policy 
of interfering in the concerns of his neighbours. At length he 
provoked his brother and his brother-in-law, Sultan Ahmad 
Mirza and Sultan Mahmud ILhan, to take vigorous action 
against him. In 1494, wearied of his constant intrigues, they 
determined to deprive him of his dominions, and thus prevent 
him from stirring up any further trouble. Accordingly they 
arranged a joint invasion of Farghana. Sultan Ahmad, 
advancing from Samarkand, was to enter the country by the 
road to the south of the Sirr, and march straight upon Andijan, 
the capital, Mahmud Khan, as befitted his larger resources, 
was to penetrate by the pass to the north of the river, and 
seize the fortress of Akhsi. The first stages of the campaign 
were duly carried out, and it must have seemed that Farghana 
was doomed. 'Ujnar—Shaikh did the only thing possible 
under the circumstances. Having put his capital under the 
governorship of his eldest son Babur, leaving KJiudai-birdi, 
who had been his own guardian,^ and some other trusty begs 

1 See P. de Courteille, i. 26; Ilminski, 16. Khudai-birdi had been 
made Master of the Household by Sultan Abu Saiyid, and Babur notes 
hie great administrative ability. 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 29 

to advise him, he himself set out for the threatened northern 
districts, entered Akhsi, and prepared to make a desperate 
resistance. 

At this juncture, however, occurred the curious accident 
which saved Farghana. 'Umar Shaikh Mirza, like so many 
of his Turkish house, was extremely interested in the breeding 
and training of tumbler pigeons. One day in Akhsi he entered ^^^j^.tlX'" ^' 
a pigeon cot which was built upon the side of a hill slop- ^ 
ing down to the river below. The foundations gave way, the 
house fell upon him, and he was instantly killed.^ This 
happened on Monday, June 8th, 1494.. 

At first sight, nothing could have seemed more disastrous 
for the kingdom. Two powerful armies were already within 
its borders, and Babur, the late monarch's eldest son, was but 
eleven years old. As a matter of fact, the death of 'Umar 
Shaikh removed the only bond which had united the foe into '"'" 

a common purpose. Him they had hated : they had no 
grudge against his son. Both Sultan Ahmad Mirza and 
Mahmud Khan coveted Farghana, and thus each was unwilling 
that the other should possess it. At the same time, it was 
determined to proceed with the reduction of the province, 
although each of the invaders kept a wary eye on the other. 
Everything thus turned upon the personality of the heir 
apparent. Was he to undergo the fate of the *' rightful 
heir " of fairy lore : or was he to frustrate the intentions of the 
two *' wicked uncles " ? 

Zahir-ud-din Muhammad, surnamed the Tiger, had been 
bom on Friday, February Mth, 1483, He was thus just 
eleven years and four months old when his father's sudden 
death seated him on the throne. His two half-brothers, 
Jahangir Mirza and Nasir Mirza, were respectively two years 
and four years younger. Of his early boyhood we know little : 
probably because it was mainly spent in the company of the 

1 There is nothing in the Memoirs or the Tarikh-i-Rashidi to justify 
Erskine's contention that pigeon-cot and all fell with 'Umar Shaikh into 
the river. There is no reason to suppose that the hill on which the 
building stood was precipitous. 



30 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

masters from whom he learned so much. He was extremely 
well educated, wrote a good hand, and later produced some 
notable verse.i In view of his times and lineage, it is hardly 
necessary to say that he was an admirable horseman, a fine 
shot, a good swordsman, and a mighty hunter. Even before 
he was called upon to fill his father's place, he had given 
evidence that he possessed no common qualities as a leader of 
men. That he was chosen to govern the capital during his 
father's absence at Akhsi shows indeed but little, for infants 
in arms were in that age sometimes placed in titular command 
of an invading army .2 But the history of his doings during 
the first stormy months of his reign inclines us to believe the 
statements of Khwandamir as to his remarkable precocity. 
There is little doubt that Andij an obeyed its youthful governor, 
whose insight into character at an early age, and whose keen- 
ness of observation are amply apparent from the thumb-nail 
sketches he has left of those with whom he came into contact 
during these years of boyhood. 

Consider this impressionistic study of his father, 'Umar 
Shaikh Mirza, remembering that Babur when only eleven years 
old saw him for the last time.^ 

" He was a short and stout, round-bearded and fleshy-faced person. 
He used to wear his tunic so very tight that to fasten the strings he 
had to draw his belly in, and, if he let himself out after tying them, 
they often tore away. He was not choice in dress or food. He 
wound his turban in a fold ; all turbans were in four folds in those 
days ; people wore them without twisting and let the ends hang down. 
In the heats, and except in his Court, he wore the Mughul cap. . . . 
He had a poetic nature, but no taste for composing verses. He was 
so just that when he heard of a caravan returning from China aa 
overwhelmed with snow in the moimtains of Eastern Andijan, and 
that of its thousand heads of houses two only had escaped, he sent 

* There are a few lines in Babur's own hand in the famous little 
Rampur codex of his Turki poems. 

* Cf. the expedition carried out under the nominal command of the 
infant Shah Tahmasp : Habib-us-Siyar and Alisan-us-Siyar. Another 
example is that of Murad Mirza, who accompanied Humayun's Persian 
allies in 1644-45. 

» A. S. Beveridgo, 14. Cf . also P. de Courteille, i. 12, 13 (Tlminski, 8). 




THE NOBLES OF FARGHANA DO HOMAGE TO BABUR. 

(Alwar Codex.) 



^J .j»MPQHBd^^^| 




^^^L '^^H^^I^^^H- ^bB^ 




^^^^HBHjj^ W^"" ^^H 1 


^^^^^^^P -.^^^^^^B^^^B 


^B| 1 T T T 




|:'LJpM| 




I ^^wiflGK. '' J; 




B ^^ .jfcj*" ml^M'A. ' '^^L'^B^^jKr^H 




Ki^" It •■ ' "^Mfc^ ^^ 




WM^ 'M 


■UK ''.^*^ 



THE NOTABLES OF ANDIJAN PAY THEIR RESPECTS TO BABUR 

(Alwar Codex.) 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 31 

his overseers to take charge of all goods, and though no heirs were 
near, and though he was in want himseK, summoned the heirs from 
Khurasan and Samarkand, and in the course of a year or two had 
made over to them all their property, safe and soxmd." 

Such sketches might be multiplied indefinitely, but one 
more must suffice : — 

" Ali Dost Taghai was a relation of my mother's mother. I 
favoured him more than he had been favoured in 'Umar Shaikh 
Mirza's time. People said, ' Work will come from his hand.' But 
in the many years he was in my presence, no work to spejik of 
came to sight. ... He was worthless by nature and habit, a stingy, 
severe, strife-stirring person, false, self -pleasing, rough of tongue and 
cold of face." ^ 

The author of these shrewd strokes had need of all his 
alertness if he was to keep his head amidst the difficulties that 
surrounded him. At the time of 'Umar Shaikh Mirza's accident, 
Babur was living in his summer quarters, the Four Gardens, 
at Andijan. Here it was that the news of his father's death 
reached him on Tuesday, June 9th. Young as he was, he 
acted with great decision. The first thing was, plainly, to 
make sure of the citadel. He mounted at once with his 
retainers, and was preparing to enter the town, when a sudden 
doubt struck one of his begs.^ Ahmad Mirza was invading the 
country in force : supposing the garrison of Andijan should 
seize the young prince, and hand him over to his uncle to save 
the land from ravage ? He mentioned the matter to his 
master, who realised the imminence of the danger. It was 
almost decided that the young prince should retire to the foot 
hills of Auzkint, when the matter came to the ears of the loyal 
begs within the town. Treachery to their new master was the 
last thing that occurred to them, and they hastened to assure 
him of their good faith. From the country round about, the 
old servants of his father flocked into the fort, paid their respects 
to the prince, and diligently set themselves to make good the 
towers and ramparts of the defensible area. " After waiting 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 27-28. « Sherim Taghai. 



32 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

upon me," says Babur, " they set themselves with one heart 
and mind, and with zeal and energy to hold the fort." i 

The situation was fast becoming critical. To the north 
Akhsi still held out under the nominal command of Babur's 
next brother, the nine-year-old Jahangir, advised by the flower 
of 'Umar Shaikh's trustiest warriors : but in the south, things 
were looking very black. Sultan Ahmad was advancing at a 
terrible speed. Auratipa, Khojend, and Marghilan successively 
fell before him, and finally he encamped at Qaba, only a short 
distance from the capital. As he approached, there must 
have been many anxious hearts in the garrison : how could 
their young master hope to hold out against his uncle's superior 
resources ? One at least of the Andijan notables, a certain 
Darwesh Gau, made what Babur characterises as " improper 
proposals " — doubtless, proposals for handing the young prince 
over to his uncle as the price of the retirement of the Samarkand 
forces. But he was promptly put to death, and the unanimity 
of the garrison was restored by the swift retribution which 
overtook the traitor. Before making up their minds to stand 
a siege, however, Babur's party attempted to arrive at an 
amicable agreement with the invading forces. The proposals 
addressed to Sultan Ahmad are described by Babur as 
follows : " As he himself would place one of his servants in the 
country, and as I was myself both a servant and a relation, he 
would attain his end most readily and easily if he entrusted the 
service to me." 2 But the ingenious attempt at compromise 
failed. " Sultan Ahmad Mirza," says Babur, " was a mild, 
weak man, of few words, who, without his begs, decided no 
opinion or compact, action or move ; they paid no attention to 
our proposal, gave it a harsh answer, and moved forward." ^ 

Things were in this condition, and the garrison was pre- 
paring itself to endure a siege, when suddenly the whole 
aspect of affairs altered. The army of the invaders came to 
a halt almost under the walls of Andijan, and offered the most 
liberal terms. Several reasons contributed to this change of 

» A. S. Boveridge, 30. « Ibid. ; cf . Ilminski, 20. 

» Ibid. ; Ihninaki, 20, 21. 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 33 

front on the part of Sultan Ahmad. In the first place, he was 
profoundly discouraged by the loyalty of the countryside. 
"They" (the invaders), says Babur, "found in our soldiers and 
peasants a resolution and single-mindedness such as would not 
let them flinch from making offering of their lives so long as 
there was breath and power in their bodies." i Next, a grievous 
murrain afflicted the horses of the Samarkand troops, so that 
they died in crowds. But the final cause determining Sultan 
Ahmad to leave his nephew in peace was this. In marching 
from Qaba he had been forced to cross a stagnant, morass-like 
water, spanned by a single bridge. The narrow footway 
became overcrowded, so that numbers of men and horses and 
camels were pushed off, perishing miserably in the swamp. The 
whole thing was so horribly reminiscent of the disaster of the 
Sirr, seven years before, that Sultan Ahmad's nerve gave way. 
He was only anxious to get out of the country before ill-luck 
once more overtook him.2 In consequence, he hastily patched 
up a peace with his nephew, and, to the amazement of all, 
retired as fast as he had advanced. Thus, all unexpectedly, 
the most imminent of the dangers threatening Babur passed 
away. 

There was, however, still a hostile force within his territory. 
His mother's brother, Mahmud, the Elder Khan, had advanced 
along the north side of the river, and, according to agreement, 
had duly laid siege to Akhsi, as has already been related. But 
the garrison, headed by Ali Darwesh Beg, Mirza Kuli Kukul- 
dash, and others, opposed a desperate resistance. The presence 
of the young Jahangir Mirza was doubtless an encouragement 
to faithful service. So well did the garrison fight that Mahmud, 
profoundly discouraged by the unexpected retreat of his ally 
Sultan Ahmad, finding that he could gain nothing but hard 
knocks, decided to retire also. He fell sick, and took advantage 
of the fact to withdraw with as good a countenance as possible. 

There remained one further adversary. Aba-bikr Dughlat 
of Kashgar, who had for some years been supreme in Kashgar 
and Khotan, took advantage of the distresses of Farghana to 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 31. » Ihid. ; cf. Ilminski, 21. 

D 



34 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

build a fort in the neighbourhood of Auzkint. From this 
vantage point he harried the country far and wide. As soon 
as the more formidable of his adversaries had been disposed 
of, Babur's party turned their attention to Aba-bikr. Dumb- 
founded by the change in the aspect of affairs, Aba-bikr was 
very happy to receive permission to retreat with a whole skin. 

Babur's party had now an instant's breathing space, and 
they employed it to the best possible advantage. His father's 
household having come from Akhsi to Andijan, the customary 
mourning was fulfilled, and the young prince turned his atten- 
tion to the administration of the country and the ordering 
of the army. The real head of affairs at this time was his 
grandmother, Aisan-daulat Begam, whose prudent advice was 
responsible for much of his success. Probably at her instance 
the government of Andijan and the control of the Gate was 
assigned to Hasan, son of Yakub : Auzun Hasan was given 
command of Akhsi, and Marghilan was entrusted to Ali Dost 
Taghai. To other nobles who had displayed their loyalty in 
the recent troubles, grants of land, of office or of money 
were made according to the particular circumstances of each. 
Finally the army was carefully ordered : and the contributions 
of men owed by the newly-appointed office-holders were, it 
must be presumed, accurately determined. 

The process of reorganisation had hardly been completed 
before news was brought of another bewildering change in the 
political situation. Sultan Ahmad Mirza had been in poor 
health during his Farghana campaign — a fact which may help 
to explain the unexpected termination of the expedition — 
and in the middle of July, 1494, he suddenly died. He left no 
sons ; so his begs, after consultation, offered the throne to his 
younger brother, Sultan Mahmud Mirza, who ruled over 
Badakshan and the provinces between the Asfera mountains 
and the Hindu Kush. Sultan Mahmud Mirza accepted the 
invitation, made over Hisar to one son, Bokhara to another, 
and himself came to Samarkand. He seated himself upon the 
throne, without opposition. Master not only of his own but 
of his brother's dominions, his resources were very great. A 




AISAN-DAULAT BEGAM ORDERING THE REALM OF HER GRANDSON BABUR. 

{Agra Codex.) 




AISAN-DAULAT BEGAM GIVES ORDERS FOR THE ARREST OF THE 
CONSPIRATORS. 

{Agra Codex.) 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 35 

stern ruler, and an administrator of marked ability, lie quickly- 
reduced his new provinces to order. The nobles of Samarkand 
found to their dismay that they had exchanged King Log for 
King Stork. He executed two of his kinsmen ; he imprisoned 
three others . Secure from all opposition, he revised the revenue 
assessment, and insisted on the payment of dues and imports 
by those who had formerly been excused on the ground of theii 
sanctity. This raised a howl of wrath from the clergy, and, in 
combination with the vicious private life he led, made Sultan 
Mahmud extremely unpopular. But his authority was too 
strong to be shaken. He let his new subjects grumble, and 
pursued his own policy unmoved. i 

Soon he began to cast his eyes about him, in search of 
further acquisitions. It occurred to him that Farghana was 
not only a desirable addition to his possessions : it offered a 
particularly promising field for intrigue. The ruler was young 
and inexperienced : there were, moreover, two younger 
brothers who might be used as tools in the game, and a number 
of ambitious begs, who were already becoming disappointed at 
their failure to bend the will of the boy king in their own 
interests. Accordingly, Sultan Mahmud Mirza took advantage 
of the opportunity afforded by the despatch of a complimentary 
embassy to Babur, in order to win over the powerful Hasan, 
son of Yakub, Babur's master of the Gate, who ruled in Andijan.2 

Five or six months later, that is, towards the end of 1494, 
Babur found himself confronted by a formidable conspiracy. 
Hasan-i-Yakub plotted to dethrone his master, and to 
supplant him by the young Jahangir, in whom he hoped to find 
a pliant tool. He succeeded in securing a certain following 
among the disaffected begs, although the majority remained 
true to Babur. The wise Aisan-daulat Begam took charge of 
the crisis : ^ a meeting of the loyalists was held in her presence, 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 40-41 ; Habib-us-Siyar ; P. de Courteille, i. 49-50 
(Ilminski, 29, 30). 

* The ambassador's name was 'Abdu'l Qadus Beg, and he seems to 
have been a blood-kinsman of Hasan-i-Yakub. — A. S. Beveridge, 42. 

' For her authority over her grandson's affairs, see A. S. Beveridge, 
43 ; cf. Ilminski, 31. 



36 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

and it was decided to strike the first blow. Taking the oppor- 
tunity of his absence from the citadel on a hawking excursion, 
they arrested Hasan's trustiest followers. On the news of this, 
Hasan at once set ofi for Samarkand, presumably to invite the 
active co-operation of Sultan Mahmud Mirza. Not desiring 
to appear empty-handed before his employer, he turned aside 
from the direct road, hoping to surprise Akhsi. Babur 
promptly despatched a body of men to head him off, and in a 
night attack the traitor was killed by a chance arrow from the 
bow of one of his own partisans. i So far so good : but the 
agent having been disposed of, it remained to reckon with the 
principal. However, at the critical moment fortune once more 
favoured Babur, for Sultan Mahmud Mirza died suddenly in 
January, 1495. 

Instantly all was in confusion throughout his realm, and 
the tables were completely turned. Instead of being menaced 
to the south and west by a powerful neighbour, anxious to 
swallow him up, Babur now found himself confronted by a 
distracted kingdom, in the affairs of which he might well hope 
to interfere to his own profit. No sooner was Sultan Mahmud 
Mirza dead, than the usual scramble for the dominions of a 
departed monarch began. He left five sons, but for the moment 
we need concern ourselves with three only, Sultan Ma&'ud 
Mirza, Sultan Baisanghar Mirza, and Sultan Ali Mirza." At 
the time of their father's death, the two elder sons were absent 
at their respective governments, Sultan Mas'ud Mirza in Hisar, 
and Sultan Baisanghar Mirza in Bokhara. As a result the 
wazir, Khosru Shah, made a bold attempt to seize Samarkand 
and the royal treasure. Being eminently and deservedly 
unpopular, however, he was expelled from the capital by a 
general uprising, and sent off to Hisar under escort. The 
succession was settled upon Baisanghar, the second son, by a 
council of the begs, who passed over the elder son, Mas'ud, 
apparently on account of his weaker personality. But Bai- 

» A. S. Beveridge, 44. Hdbih-us-Siyar. 

* The two remaining sons were Sultan Husain Mirza and Sultan Wais 
Mirza. A. S. Beveridge, 47. 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 37 

sanghar had scarcely taken his seat on the throne of Samarkand 
when fresh trouble began. A discontented party, headed by 
Junaid Barlas and other notables, invited the intervention of 
Mahmud, the Elder Khan. A strong force of Mongols promptly 
invaded the country, commanded by the Khan's most ex- 
perienced general, Haidar Kukuldash. But Baisanghar 
resolved to strike a stout blow for his inheritance, marched out, 
and inflicted upon the invaders a crushing defeat near Kan-bai. 
So many of the captives were beheaded in Baisanghar's presence 
that his tent had to be shifted three times because the ground 
was cumbered with corpses. i 

Babur was watching the affairs of Samarkand with great 
interest. Like his father before him, his earliest dreams had 
been connected with that city, indissohibly associated with the 
glory and greatness of Amir Timur. Could he but seat him- 
self upon the throne of his mighty ancestor, fame would be his, 
and he would die content. But before he could turn his 
attention to such a project, there were other matters, nearer 
home, which must be settled. Khojend, to which his father 
had long laid claim, had slipped from Farghana during the 
recent troubles, and was now a dependency of Samarkand : 
Auratipa, another district which had formerly been in the 
possession of 'Umar Shaikh, had undergone a similar fate, and 
was now being held by Sultan Ali Mirza on behalf of his brother 
Baisanghar. Finally, one of the tribes which dwelt between 
Kashgar and Farghana was making difficulties about the 
payment of tribute. With so much on his hands, Babur must 
have been somewhat annoyed to find himself involved in 
sudden hostilities with Baisanghar himself. The new Sultan 
of Samarkand, apparently desirous of continuing the projects 
against Babur which had been interrupted by the death of 
Sultan Mahmud, won over a Mongol chief named Ibrahim Saru, 
who had formerly been in the service of 'Umar Shaikh. This 
man seized Asfera, a fortress near the southern border of 
Farghana, and declared for Baisanghar. Most fortunately for 
Babur, the declaration was ill-timed. At that precise moment 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 52; cf. P. de Courteille, i. 64 (Ilminski, 38). 



38 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

the Sultan of Samarkand, being called upon to meet the army 
of Mahmud, the Elder Khan, was in no case to send assistance 
to Ibrahim Saru. Babur had thus time to nip the intended 
rebellion in the bud. Quick action was necessary, and in May, 
1495, he rode out of Andijan to attack Asfera. By the end of 
the month, he had isolated the fortress from all possibility of 
succour. 

The place at length surrendered, Ibrahim Saru returned to 
his allegiance, and was admitted to favour once more. Flushed 
with this success, Babur determined to follow it up by attacking 
Khojend. The commander, probably despairing of assistance 
from Baisanghar, who was still engaged with the Mongols, 
surrendered the place at once. 

As fortune would have it, Mahmud, the Elder Khan, 
happened just then to be in the neighbouring province of Shah- 
rukhia. It occurred to Babur that it would be wise to go and 
look up his maternal uncle, not merely to see how the land lay, 
but also to assure the Khan that no ill-will was borne for the 
attack on Akhsi. The interview between uncle and nephew 
was formal enough, but apparently satisfactory so far as it went. 

" I waited on the Khan in the garden Haidar Kukuldash had 
made outside Shahrukhia. He was seated in a large four-doored 
tent set up in the middle of it. Having entered the tent, I knelt 
three times, he for his part, rising to do me honour. We looked 
one another in the eyes, and I returned to my place. After I had 
kneeled, he called me to his side, and showed me much affection 
and friendliness." ^ 

Two days later, Babur set oS for Andijan, while despatching 
a force to collect the arrears of tribute from his defaulting 
subjects. This enterprise also was entirely successful ; and 
the army returned to the capital with some 20,000 sheep and 
1500 horses, seized from the tribesmen. The last of the 
enterprises which remained was that of Auratipa. Here Babur 
met a check. Sultan Ali Mirza did, indeed, hurry away when 
he heard of the approach of the Farghana contingent, but he 

* A. S. Beveridge, 64. 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 39 

left his guardian, Shaikh Zu'n-nun Arghun behind with an 
adequate force. When Babur arrived, he found the place too 
strong for him, and turned back to Andijan. Soon afterwards, 
however, his uncle Mahmud, the Elder Khan, attacked Aura- 
tipa in his turn. He was more successful, for he took it, and 
gave it to a certain Muhammad Husain Dughlat, whom we 
shall meet again. 

Babur returned to his capital, on the whole well satisfied. 
He had put down rebellion, he had exacted his tribute, he had 
recovered an important possession. He now set to work to 
organise his resources for further efforts. Meanwhile, he found 
much to interest him in the affairs of Baisanghar Mirza, Sultan 
of Samarkand. 

The unlucky kingdom of Samarkand, having beaten off the 
Mongol army of Mahmud, the Elder Khan, found itself con- 
fronted by a new and most formidable adversary. Sultan 
Husain Mirza Baiqara, descendant of an elder son of Amir 
Timur, was ruler of Khorasan, and the most powerful of all the 
princes of his house. From his capital, Herat, he controlled 
an immense kingdom. Highly educated, a liberal and dis- 
criminating patron of art and letters, his court was the most 
brilliant in Asia. But he was ambitious and self-seeking, 
always ready to extend his dominions at the expense of his 
neighbours.! Taking advantage of the troubles of the kingdom 
of Samarkand, he advanced against Hisar with a powerful 
force. He went into winter quarters at Tirmiz, where he was 
observed from across the river by Sultan Mas'ud Mirza, the 
elder brother of Baisanghar. For most of the winter the 
opposing forces watched one another : but at last Sultan Husain 
Baiqara crossed by a feint, and compelled his adversary to fall 
back into Hisar, which was promptly besieged. At the same 
time he sent two detachments, one under his eldest son, Badi-uz- 
Zaman Mirza, against Qunduz, where Khosru Shah, the late 
wazir, was holding out : and another against Khutlan under 
a young son, Muzaffar Husain Mirza. Sultan Mas'ud promptly 
fled to bear the bad news to Baisanghar in Samarkand, and it 
^ Hdbib-u8-8iyar, ii. 26&-60 ; Tarikh-i-Rashidi. 



40 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

seemed that the whole country would fall into Sultan Husain 
Mirza Baiqara's hand. Many of the Uzbeg soldiers of fortune 
who had been in the service of the Samarkand rulers thought all 
was over, and came to offer their swords to Babur. But, as 
it happened, things went badly for the invaders. Hisar held 
out bravely : Khosru Shah twice repulsed forces sent against 
him ; so that at last the great ruler of Khorasan was glad to 
make peace and withdraw. Babur must have been greatly 
relieved : for had Sultan Husain Mirza Baiqara established 
himself in Samarkand, the prospects of a successful attack 
upon the city of Timur would have been much reduced. And 
at this moment an event occurred which must have filled him 
with renewed hopes. A formidable conspiracy broke out in 
Samarkand on the part of the local begs, who complained that 
their Sultan showed too much favour to the men of Hisar, the 
companions of his boyhood. It was agreed to depose him, and 
set his younger brother. Sultan Ali, in his place. Baisanghar 
was kidnapped and actually on his way to the famous Guk 
Sarai, whither the princes of the House of Timur never went 
save to be crowned, blinded or bowstringed,^ when he managed 
to make his escape to the house of a well-known Khwaja. The 
sanctity of his host protected him until an uprising of the popu- 
lace restored him to his throne. The unfortunate Sultan Ali 
was in his turn sent to the Guk Sarai : but by some chance 
his eyes did not lose their sight when the fire-pencil was drawn 
across them. He escaped to his partisans in Bokhara, and in 
a moment the kingdom of Samarkand was in the throes of 
civil war. Sultan Baisanghar moved against his brother, but 
was beaten off with some loss, and driven back into his capital. 
On the receipt of this news, Babur acted with decision. 

^ There is a note by Babur which is of some interest in this con- 
nection : " The Guk Sarai is one of Timur Beg's great buildings in the 
citadel of Samarkand. It has this singular and special characteristic, 
if a Timurid is to bo seated on the throne, here he takes his seat : if 
one lose his head, coveting the throne, here he loses it : therefore the 
name Guk Sarai has a metaphorical sense, and to say of any ruler's son, 
' They have taken him to the Guk Sarai ' means, to death." A. S. 
Beveridge, 63. The building is, however, older than Timur. Cf. Petia 
de la Croix, Chingiz Khan, 171 ; and Erskine, i. 98. 



^;mf^m%i^, 




HAMZA SULTAN, MAHDI SULTAN, AND SOME OTHER CHIEFTAINS FROM 
SAMARKAND AND BOKHARA COME TO SEEK BABUR'S SERVICE. 

{Agra Codex.) 



THE BOYHOOD OF BABUR 41 

Though but fourteen years of age, he determined to strike a 
blow for himself, and to seat himself, if possible, upon the throne 
of his ancestor Timur. Accordingly, in the middle of July, 
1496, he got his men to horse, and advanced to the siege of 
Samarkand. Here he found two of his cousins already en- 
camped beneath the walls : Sultan Ali, who was bent on 
revenge, and Sultan Mas'ud, who was in love with a Samar- 
kand lady. The three princes besieged the town for three or 
four months, but as winter was coming on, they withdrew early 
in September. Babur and Sultan Ali arranged to renew the 
siege next year. Sultan Mas'ud, having won his lady love, 
went back to Hisar well content. Sultan Ali retired to Bok- 
hara, to make his preparations for next year's campaign. 
Babur recrossed the hills to Farghana, and entered Andijan 
with a similar end in view. 

With this siege of Samarkand, fruitless as it was, the first 
period of Babur's life comes to a close. He is a boy no longer, 
but a man and a warrior, eager to win fame and glory, im- 
patient of control, and longing to pit himself against the other 
competitors in the fascinating game of high politics : a game 
in which the stake was an empire and the counters were 
kingdoms. 



CHAPTER II 



THE TRAINING OF A WARRIOE 



Authorities. — Babur-nama ; Habih-us-Sit/ar ; Shaibani Nama; Alim 
arai Abassi ; Tarikh-i-Rashidi. 

Modern Works. — Erskine ; Lane Poole ; VamWry's History of 
Bokhara. 

Babur was now fairly embarked upon his adventurous career 
as prince- errant. He spent the winter of 1496-7 in making 
careful preparations for his intended attack on Samarkand in 
the spring. He succeeded in keeping his project a complete 
secret from Baisanghar. At last, when all was ready, he 
sprang to horse in May, 1497, and took the road to Samarkand, 
leaving Auzun Hasan and Ali Dost Taghai in charge of the 
affairs of his capital. 

The unfortunate Sultan Baisanghar received a most 
unpleasant surprise. He had been well aware that his brother, 
Sultan Ali, was about to renew the attack : and, encouraged 
by a small success, had marched out to oppose him. The two 
brothers were lying face to face when Babur's scouting parties 
made their appearance. Baisanghar, dumbfounded at the 
approach of this unexpected adversary, broke up his camp 
and retired in confusion. He only just escaped in time, for 
a flying column of the Farghana troops surprised his rearguard 
at night, inflicted severe losses, and brought off a mass of 
spoil.i 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 66 ; cf . P. de Courteille, i. 83 (Ilminski, 48). At 
this point a good many of the Uzbeg nobles who had been in the service 
of the House of Timur, deserted to follow the rising fortunes of Shaibani. 
Among them was Muhammad Salih Mirza, the author of the Sfiaibani 
Nama. See Vamb6ry, chapter xv. ; A. S. Beveridge, 64. 



THE TEAINING OF A WARRIOK 43 

Joining forces with Sultan Ali, Babur advanced on Samar- 
kand. Shiraz fell to the invaders : more and more of Bai- 
sanghar's men came over and took service with them. These 
soldiers of fortune, who were always ready to desert a losing 
cause, were principally Mongols. Babur was fully aware of 
their unreliability, and he had, moreover, a personal dislike 
to their race. He cannot, therefore, have been sorry, when 
an opportunity presented itself, to show them that he meant 
to be master. Some of them were brought before him on the 
charge of behaving brutally to humble village elders. Babur, 
who took great pride in the discipline and restraint of his 
troops, ordered the plunderers to be cut to pieces. This act 
of stern justice was to be the cause, as we shall see, of much 
future trouble ; but meanwhile the lesson was effectual, One 
day during the advance, a sudden alarm was raised, and the 
Musulman traders who had come to the camp to buy and sell 
were plundered. " But," says Babur with great pride, " such 
was the discipline of our army, that an order to restore every- 
thing having been given, the first watch of the next day had 
not passed before nothing, not a tag of cotton, not a broken 
needle's point, remained in the possession of any man of the 
force : all was back with its owners." i 

Babur encamped before the town, and the siege work was 
pushed on. There were frequent skirmishes with the garrison, 
and on the whole, the besiegers had the advantage. But a 
'* deceitful " message, inviting Babur to send a picked detach- 
ment to the " Lovers' Cave," resulted in a small party of his 
best troops being destroyed by the ambushed enemy .2 The 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 66 ; P. de Courteille, i. 85. Babur's low opinion 
of the Mongols is plainly expressed in several passages of the Memoirs, 
Compare the following : — " The horde of Mongols have uniformly been 
the authors of every kind of mischief and disaffection : up to the time of 
writing they have rebelled against me on five occasions " (P. de C, i. 139- 
40 ; Ilminski, 80). And on speaking of Sultan Kuli Chinak, who rebelled, 
Babur says : ^ It is certain that his reprehensible conduct is entirely to 
be ascribed to his Mongol nature " (P. de C, i. 140 ; Ilminski, 80). 

* Cf. the account in the Habib-us-Siyarf from which it appears that 
the message itself was genuine enough, but that it led Babur to antici- 
pate no opposition. It was the town-rabble which fell upon his men. 
See below. 



U AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

operations dragged on through the hot weather, and the 
situation of the garrison gradually became critical. Sortie 
after sortie was repulsed with loss, until at length they were 
shut entirely within the walls of the town. Baisanghar grew 
desperate : none of his own house would help him, and as a 
last resort, he made a frantic appeal for help to Shaibani Khan, 
governor of Turkistan. 

Shaibani, whom we have met before under his alternative 
title of Shahi Beg, was the grandson of a certain Abu-1-khair, 
a prince who united into one powerful confederacy the nomadic 
Uzbeg tribes of the north-western steppe.^ The infant empire 
was wrecked by the jealousy of the wilder and more conservative 
elements composing it, and Shaibani, the hope of his house, was 
forced to seek service abroad to repair his shattered fortunes. 
With a small band of devoted followers, he hired himself out, 
now to this prince, now to that ; ever increasing his resources, 
and ever pursuing his own interests, ruthless and unscrupulous. 
We have already seen how he betrayed his master. Sultan 
Ahmad Mirza, at the battle of the Sirr. As a reward for this 
piece of treachery, Mahmud, the Elder Khan, had made him 
Governor of Turkistan. From that time forward, he came 
into prominence as the great enemy of the Timurids in general, 
and of Babur in particular. His power, his cunning, his 
cruelty, made him a most formidable opponent ; and until the 
hand of death finally removed him, he was to constitute an 
insuperable barrier to the career of the young prince of Farghana. 

At the moment, however, fortune smiled on Babur. He 
had just moved his troops into winter quarters, and had taken 
summary vengeance upon certain leaders of the mob which 
had slain the Lovers' Cave band.2 When Shaibani came up hot- 
foot, hoping to surprise the besiegers, he found them too strong 
to be attacked. Baisanghar, disappointed with the prudence 
of his ally, showed his chagrin openly, and Shaibani, piqued, 

^ See Shaibani Nama (for later career) ; Tarikh-i-Rashidi ; Habib- 
uS'Siyar ; Alim arai Abassi ; and among modern authorities, Erskine, 
i. 30-34, etc. 

■ Cf. note 1 above. This seems to confirm the Habib-us-Siyar'a 
aooount of the event. 



THE TRAINING OF A WARRIOR 45 

withdrew his forces. He had, however, as Erskine remarks,^ 
seen the richness of the prey and the weakness of the defenders. 
Henceforth Samarkand, with its wealth and luxury, fascinated 
him, and he determined to wrest it from the hands of the house 
of Timur. At the moment, however, there was nothing for 
him but retreat. The field was left open for his young rival. 

The siege had now lasted seven months, and the city could 
not hold out much longer. When Shaibani withdrew, the 
last hope of successful resistance vanished. So Baisanghar, 
with two or three hundred half -starved followers, slipped out 
of the town one night and rode for Qunduz, to seek shelter 
from the former wazir, Khosru Shah. He was nearly inter- 
cepted by his brother Mas'ud, but at length reached Qunduz 
in safety. Khosru received him kindly, seeing in him a useful 
instrument for his own ends. 

So, at the end of November, 1497, Babur realized the dream 
of his life. Riding out of his cantonments, he took the road 
to the city of his ancestors. " To give us honourable meeting 
on the road were nobles and braves, one after the other. . . . 
Thus by God's favour were the town and country of Samarkand 
taken and occupied." 2 Sultan Ali Mirza, for his part, passed 
on and took possession of Bokhara. 

The joy of Babur knew no bounds. Years afterwards, 
from the garden house at Sikri, where, as his daughter Gul- 
badan tells us, he sat writing his book,^ his mind went back 
to the glories of that day. With pride he dwelt upon the 
wonders of Timur's city : its splendid palaces, its mosques, 
its gardens, its colleges and its walls : upon the wealth and 
prosperity of the regions dependent upon it : upon the history 
of its successive captures and recaptures by prince after prince, 
conqueror after conqueror. (^ Not all his triumphs in Hindustan 
could eclipse the memory of that day when he entered Samar- 
kand, a victor hardly fifteen years old. } 

* Erskine, i. 74. 

* A. S. Beveridge, 74 ; cf . P. de Courteille, i. 96 (Ilminski, 55). 

* Gulbadan Begam's Humayun Nama, f. 15 (a) ; ed. A. S. Beveridge, 
p. 19. 



46 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

But his throne was no easy resting-place. It was im- 
possible to satisfy at the same time his new subjects and 
his old soldiers. Both the one and the other were exhausted 
by the long siege. The troops deeply resented the prohibition 
of plundering, and commenced to clamour for their pay. It 
was impossible to raise any money from the half-starved city, 
and Babur's men began to desert in crowds, making their way 
back to Andijan. Nor was this all. Auzun Hasan, who had 
been left in Andijan, when ordered to round up and send back 
the deserters, made common cause with another high beg. 
Sultan Ahmad Tambal, in demanding that Andijan and Akhsi 
should be handed over to Jahangir, Babur's brother. Doubt- 
less they hoped to use the younger prince as a tool for the 
advancement of their own interests. For several reasons the 
demand could not be granted. The chief was, of course, that 
Babur depended on Farghana for the support which was to 
make him secure in Samarkand. But besides this, Mahmud, 
the Elder Khan, had already put in a demand for Andijan and 
Akhsi ; and Babur had no wish to be involved in war with his 
uncle. When their proposal was refused, the two conspirators 
raised a body of troops and laid siege to the citadel of Andijan. 
The loyal garrison held out under Ali Dost Taghai, but sent 
urgent messages to Samarkand : " They are besieging us in 
this way : if at our cry of distress you do not come, things 
will go all to ruin. Samarkand was taken by the strength of 
Andijan : if Andijan is in your hands, God willing, Samar- 
kand can be had again." ^ At this very moment, unfortunately 
Babur was recovering from a serious illness, and the attempt 
to transact business in his weak state of health brought on 
a relapse. " Not having been able to take due care in the 
days of convalescence," he says, " I went all to pieces again, 
and this time I became so very ill that for four days my speech 
was impeded, and they used to drop water into my mouth 
with cotton. Those with me, begs and bare braves alike, 
despairing of my life, began to take thought each for him- 
self " 2 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 88. « Ibid. 




THE MESSENGER FROM THE INSURGENTS HEARS THAT BABUR 
IS DYING. 



{Agra Codex.) 



THE TRAINING OF A WARRIOR 47 

By an unpardonable error of judgment, a messenger from 
the insurgents was admitted to Babur's sick-bed. Of course, 
he rode back post-haste to report that the prince was on the 
point of death. As a matter of fact, in a few days, Babur was 
able to set out for Andijan, but it was too late : the citadel 
had surrendered on the very day he had left Samarkand, and 
his capital was in the hands of his foes. Nor was this all. 
As soon as his presence was removed from Samarkand, his 
partisans became discouraged, his enemies carried matters 
with a high hand, his cousin Sultan Ali Mirza was called from 
Bokhara, and the city of Timur slipped from his grasp. 

The unfortunate Babur had now only Khojend as his base. 
He appealed to the Elder Khan for help : and the joint forces 
marched on Akhsi. But just at the critical moment, when 
another march would have regained the country, Mahmud Khan 
allowed himself to be cajoled by promises and bribes into 
deserting his nephew and withdrawing his forces. Worse was 
to follow. Babur's men began to slip away from him one by 
one until only the two or three hundred personal followers, 
who accompanied him throughout all his wanderings, re- 
mained. The poor little prince was bitterly disappointed : / 
" It came very hard on me ; I could not help crying a good 
deal," he says.^ 

Khojend was a poor place, and could not accommodate 
Babur's court, reduced as it was. Even apart from his 
ambitious designs, it would soon be necessary to seek fresh 
quarters. During the summer of 1498, however, all his efforts 
proved fruitless. Borrowing some men from his uncle Mahmud 
Khan, he tried an advance on Samarkand, only to find that 
the formidable Shaibani was dangerously close at hand. 
Again he had to retreat. Another attempt on Andijan half- 
heartedly supported by Mahmud Khan, failed also : and 
nothing remained but to cast himself upon the charity of 
Muhammad Husain Doghlat, the ruler of Auratipa, who was 
prevailed upon to lend Pashaghar, one of his villages. Here 
Babur passed the winter as best he might, waiting for what 
1 A. S. Beveridge, 91. 



48 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

fortune would send him, not a whit daunted by the un- 
prosperous complexion of his affairs. 

The winter season passed, and Babur, still uncertain where 
to turn, went to the summer pastures in the south of Auratipa. 
Suddenly his luck changed. One day, about the time of 
Afternoon Prayer, a solitary horseman appeared at the foot 
of the valley where the prince was encamped. He proved to 
be the body servant of Ali Dost Taghai, who had so rashly 
surrendered the citadel of Andijan on the news of Babur's 
illness. He brought such a message as would have gladdened 
the heart of any exiled monarch : Ali Dost apologised for 
his past misdeeds, prayed to be received into grace, and 
ofiered to make over Marghilan to Babur. 

The chance was too good to be missed. Babur and his 
little band of 240 men sprang to the saddle, and rode all 
that night. By dawn of the third day, they had covered the 
hundred and fifty miles of road to Marghilan. As they 
approached the city, doubts began to assail them. How if 
the message had been a ruse to decoy the prince into the 
clutches of his foes ? But it was now too late to hesitate. 
Putting a bold face on the matter, Babur rode up to the gate. 
After a short parley, Ali Dost Taghai, on the promise of pardon, 
admitted him. Babur was once more in possession of a walled 
town. 

Trusty emissaries were despatched to scour the country 
for troops and supplies : from all sides men and munitions 
began to come in. Babur had been generally beloved, not 
merely for his personal charm, but for the excellent order he 
maintained. On the other hand, Auzun Hasan and Sultan 
Ahmad Tambal, who now swayed Farghana in the name of their 
puppet Jahangir, being, as Babur says, " heathenish and 
vicious tyrants," had inflicted great misery upon peasants and 
clansmen alike. They gathered a considerable force, none 
the less, and attempted to besiege Marghilan, but could not 
succeed in fighting their way through the suburbs. Meanwhile 
the mob of Akhsi rose against the garrison, drove them into 
the citadel, and admitted Babur's followers to the town. 



THE TRAINING OF A WARRIOR 49 

The news grew better and better. A useful contingent came 
in from Mahmud Khan. A picked body of Auzun Hasan's 
most trusted retainers, which had been despatched to the help 
of his supporters in Akhsi, was cut to pieces as it crossed the 
river. 1 Finally, when Auzun Hasan and Tambal were retreat- 
ing in confusion upon Andijan, a message was brought that 
thep own governor of the fortress had declared for Babur. 

^3^he whole kingdom now came over, and in June, 1498, 
Babur was once more master of Farghana; Sultan Ahmad 
Tambal fled to Auzkint : Auzun Hasan threw himself into 
Akhsi and was allowed to make terms. All traces of rebellion 
died out, and it might have seemed that Babur's troubles were 
for the moment over. 

Such, however, was not the case. A single false step 
undid the work of many weeks of hard fighting. When the 
rebellious chieftains had submitted, the bulk of their followers 
joined Babur. These followers were principally Mongols. 
We have already noticed Babur's dislike of the race, and the 
stern measures he adopted during the Samarkand expedition 
to keep them in hand. They on their part, had but little 
cause to love a ruler who put down plundering so sternly and 
was so ridiculously careful about protecting the lives and 
property of humble villagers who were incapable of protecting 
themselves. Several of Babur's trustiest followers were 
annoyed to see these Mongol mercenaries decked out in the 
plunder of honest men. On the strength of their representa- 
tions, Babur was persuaded to issue an order that the Mongols 
should restore all goods recognised and claimed by their 
rightful owners. The conunand was most ill-timed. As he 
himself admits : *' Reasonable and just though the order was, 
I now understand it was a little hasty ; with a worry like 
Jahangir seated at my side, there was no sense in frightening 
people in this way." 2 

The Mongols rebelled, and promptly marched off to join 

^ The Habib-iis-Siyar, which has a slightly different account, saya 
that Auzun Hasan's troops owed their disaster to the Mongol troops 
sent by Mahmud Khan, whose intervention took them by surprise. 

* A. S. Beveridge, 104. 

S 



50 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Tambal, who thereupon renewed hostilities. A force of Babur's 
men led by Kasim Beg was severely defeated, and Tambal was 
even able to besiege the capital for nearly a month. When 
he failed to effect anything there, he went off to Ush. There 
was nothing for it but another regular campaign. 

In August 1499, accordingly, Babur, after collecting his 
partisans, marched on the Ush district, which was the centre 
of Tambal's power. While he was on the way thither, that 
active rebel attempted to surprise Andijan, but fortunately 
the garrison received the alarm just in time, and Tambal had 
to retire. Babur, on his part, sat down before the strong 
fortress of Madu, held by Tambal's younger brother. The 
place was vigorously assailed. An attack was delivered at 
dawn on one day, and in the morning of the next day, the 
garrison asked for terms, and left their defences. 

Soon after this success, Babur, encouraged by the arrival 
of fresh parties of his adherents, determined to venture upon 
a pitched battle. Tambal, on his part, moved round and got 
between Babur and the capital. Nothing could have suited 
the prince better. The battle took place at a village called 
Khuban, about 15 miles from Andijan. Babur with his usual 
prudence had drawn up his troops in the traditional order of 
his race : vanguard, centre, left and right. His well-trained 
foot soldiers were provided with mantelets, in case it became 
necessary to retire and act on the defensive. But, as luck 
would have it, they were not needed . It was a cavalry combat, 
and Babur's horse quickly swept their opponents off the field. 
Unfortunately, much of the fruits of victory were lost through 
over-caution, the pursuit not being pushed far enough. None 
the less Babur was very pleased. " This was my first ranged 
battle : the most High God, of His own favour and mercy, 
made it a day of victory and triumph." i 

Tambal retreated to Auzkint, and Babur went into winter 
quarters to observe him. Unfortunately, it was found im- 
possible to keep his army together. The greatest of all the 

J A. S. Beveridge, 113. 



THE TKAINING OF A WARRIOR 51 

begs, Kambar Ali, insisted on going to his own district,^ and 
Babur, weakened by his untimely withdrawal, could no longer 
keep the field. He retired to Andijan, but was aroused to 
sudden action by the news that the Elder Khan, his uncle, 
influenced by certain relations of Tambal high in his favour, 
had despatched assistance to the Farghana rebels. Tambal 
left Auzkint, and advanced into the plains : the new troops 
laid siege to Kasan, not far from Akhsi. Babur acted with his 
usual promptitude, collected a handful of followers, and rode 
through the bitter cold of mid-winter to Akhsi. " So mightily 
bitter was the cold that night," he says, " that it bit the 
hands and feet of several men, and swelled up the ears of 
many, each ear like an apple." ^ On the news of his approach, 
the Khan's men retreated in dismay, and Babur nearly 
succeeded in capturing Tambal himself, who was hastening to 
join his aUies. Unfortunately Babur 's begs persuaded him to 
wait until dayUght before delivering an attack : and in con- 
sequence, Tambal sUpped away. The cause of the rebels was 
now hopeless ; but in February, 1500, when Babur was 
eagerly looking forward to crushing them altogether, he was 
dismayed to find that his two greatest begs, Ali Dost Taghai 
and Kambar Ali, were arranging for an accommodation. It 
was clearly not to their interest to allow their young master 
to become too absolute, or else he might make himself entirely 
independent of their influence. They therefore insisted upon 
a division of the territory of Farghana between Babur and his 
brother Jahangir The Akhsi side of the river was to belong 
to the younger, the Andijan side to the elder, with the proviso 
that when Babur regained Samarkand, Jahangir was to have 
Andijan as well as Akhsi. Babur was very indignant, but 
dared not break openly with his powerful feudatories. 

The success of this stroke seems to have turned the head 
of Ali Dost Taghai. Governor of Andijan for Babur, he ruled 
like an independent prince. Assuming absolute control over 

* In light of subsequent events there can be little doubt that he 
deliberately designed to prevent Babur gaining a decisive sucoeas. 
2 A. S. Beveridge, 116. 



52 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

his young master's household, he dismissed in disgrace trusty 
servants like Khalifa and Kasim Beg, who had shared so 
many hardships. His son went further, and started receptions 
and a public table as if he had been a Sultan. Babur's position 
became most difficult, ^ and he was eagerly looking for a pretext 
to escape a tutelage so irksome when he received a sudden 
summons to Samarkand. 

Much had happened in that kingdom since Babur had left 
it in February, 1498. Sultan Ali Mirza, the former ally of 
Babur, had seized Samarkand itself soon afterwards, and still 
continued to rule the city and its immediate neighbourhood. 
But the most striking feature in the recent politics of the 
country had been the sudden rise to power of the unscrupulous 
wazir, Khosru Shah, whose attempt to seize the capital on 
the death of Sultan Ahmad Mirza has already been related. 
When Baisanghar had been expelled by Babur and Sultan Ali, 
he had fled to Khosru Shah in Qunduz, and had been kindly 
received. Khosru, with the principal claimant to the throne 
in his grasp, promptly set about laying his hands upon the other 
possible competitor. His task was not difficult. Mas'ud 
Mirza had displayed in the government of Hisar that lack of 
capacity which had caused him to be passed over when the 
throne of Samarkand had been in question. He had shown 
such favour to his father-in-law. Shaikh Abdullah Barlas, that 
he had offended all those nobles upon whom the safety of his 
person and possessions depended. Khosru Shah's plans were 
laid accordingly. Taking Baisanghar with him he marched on 
Hisar, sending forward an envoy to amuse Mas'ud with the 
proposal for a joint advance on Samarkand. As soon as he 
got close to the town, all those who were discontented with 
Mas'ud fled to Baisanghar : and the unfortunate ruler made his 
escape, almost unaccompanied, just as the forces of his enemies 
were closing round the town. He fled to Sultan Husain Mirza 

1 It was while Babur was in tliis situation that he was suddenly 
smitten with afifection for a boy in the camp bazaar, named Babun. 
Babur's own account of the episode is most singiilar. See A. S. Be veridge, 
120-1 ; c£. P. de Courteille, i. 162-3 (Ilminski, 92, 93). 



THE TEAINING OF A WARRIOR 53 

Baiqara, but found him engaged in open warfare with his son 
Badi-uz-Zaman, and in no case to afford much assistance to 
fugitive princes. Khosru Shah, having installed Baisanghar 
in Hisar, commenced to negotiate with Mas'ud. That in- 
fatuated prince, leaving his safe refuge with Sultan Husain 
Mirza Baiqara, put himself in Khosru's hands. Khosru Shah, 
though he had been his guardian from childhood, seized him 
and blinded him. At the mention of this horrid deed, Babur's 
wrath grows hot as he writes : "A hundred thousand curses 
light on him who planned and did a deed so horrible ! Up to 
the very verge of the Resurrection, let him who hears of this 
act of Khosru Shah, curse him : and may he who hearing, curses 
not, know cursing equally deserved." ^ 

One brother being bUnded, the fate of the other was not 
long delayed. In August, 1499, Baisanghar was seized with 
his begs, and suffered death by the bowstring when only 22 
years of age. Khosru was now master of Qunduz, Hisar and 
all the region round about. He had already begun to cast 
eyes upon Samarkand : but unfortunately for himself, there 
were other and nobler rivals in the field. 

The affairs of Samarkand at this juncture were such as to 
inspire with hopeful interest everyone except the unfortunate 
occupant of its throne. Sultan Ali had the ill-luck to fall out 
with the powerful Tarkhan family, who had secured almost all 
the revenue of the districts of Samarkand and Bokhara in their 
own hands. The Tarkhans, finding their power menaced, 
invoked the aid of some of the Elder Khan's Mongols. These 
however, proved a broken reed. Not only were they un- 
comfortable allies 2 : they were also unlucky enough to be 
defeated by Sultan Ali. The Tarkhans then sent a messenger 
to Babur, offering him the throne of Samarkand. 

We have seen the condition in which the proposal found 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 96. 

* The Mongols apparently thought of making Muhammad Mazid, 
the head of the Tarkhans, a prisoner. This naturally alienated the 
Tarkhan faction, who retired from the alliance. The Mongols, not being 
able to stand alone, went home : but on the way were caught and 
defeated. 



54 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Babur, The chance of escaping from his irksome restraints 
was too good to be missed. Hastily arranging matters with 
Jahangir, regardless even of the surprise by Tambal's partisans 
of the fortress of Ush, he took the Marghilan road. On the way 
to Asfera, he picked up the trusty Kasim Beg with a useful 
contingent and pushed on. Soon he got news that there was 
another competitor in the field. Shaibani, with a formidable 
force, had already taken Bokhara, and was rapidly approaching 
Samarkand. Babur had many friends in the town, but they 
wished him to come as close as possible before they declared 
for him. He on his part held off until they should commit 
themselves openly, because his force was far too small to make 
any real demonstration against a fortified city. Hence it came 
about that Shaibani won the race. His admission to the town, 
where he had few partisans, was due to the almost incredible 
folly of Sultan All's mother, who agreed to procure its surrender 
in return for a promise that the Uzbeg chief would marry her, 
and provide for her son out of his other dominions. Ac- 
cordingly in July, 1500, Samarkand passed into the hands of 
Shaibani. The sequel may be imagined. Sultan Ali was 
murdered, his mother became the most despised of Shaibani's 
concubines, and a massacre of Babur's partisans took place. 

The prince of Farghana, finding that his prize had for the 
moment slipped from his grasp, avoided Samarkand and moved 
off in the direction of Hisar. He was joined by a certain 
number of the Samarkand notables who had fled from Shaibani, 
but as soon as he approached Hisar and the territory of Khosru 
Shah, these left him. Having only some two or three hundred 
trusty followers left him, Babur might well have despaired of 
success in his enterprise. But anything was better than his 
restricted life in Andijan, and he determined to try his fortune 
once more. He thought of reaching his uncle Ahmad, the 
Younger Khan, and asking his help : but he gave up the idea, 
and decided to achieve his aim with his own resources, or not 
at all. Accordingly, he marched on Samarkand again. 

Shaibani, despising so small a body of men, took no 
notice. Indeed, the Uzbeg had good reason for confidence. 



THE TEAINING OF A WARRIOR 55 

Encamped at some distance from the town were three or four 
thousand of his war-hardened troops, with as many more of 
the local levies. Within the citadel were five or six hundred 
soldiers under a trusty commandant. Babur, on the other 
hand, had only 240 men, good and bad. What happened 
must be told in his own words, so vividly rendered by Mrs. 
Beveridge : — 

" Having discussed the position with all my begs and immailed 
braves, we left it at this : — that as Shaibani Khan had taken posses- 
sion of Samarkand so recently, the Samarkandis would not be 
attached to him nor he to them ; that if we made an effort at once, 
we might do the thing ; that if we set ladders up and took the fort 
by surprise, the Samarkandis would be for us ; how should they not 
be ? Even if they gave us no help, they would not fight us for the 
Auzbegs ; and that Samarkand once in our hands, whatever was 
God's will, would happen. >^, 

" Acting on this decision, we rode out of Yar-yilaq after the 
Mid-day Prayer, and on through the dark till midnight, when we 
reached Khan-yurti. Here we had word that the Samarkandis 
knew of our coming ; for this reason we went no nearer to the 
town, but made straight back from Khan-yurti. It was dawn 
when, after crossing the Kohik-water below Rabat-i-khwaja, we 
were once more in Yar-yilaq. 

" One day in Fort Asfidik a household party was sitting in my 
presence ; Dost-i-nasir and Nuyan Kukuldash and Khan-quli-i- 
Karim-dad and Shaikh Darwesh and Mirim-i-nasir were all there. 
Words were crossing from all sides when (I said), ' Come now : say 
when, if God bring it right, we shall take Samarkand.' Some said, 
* We shall take it in the heats.' It was then late in autumn. Others 
said, ' In a month,' ' Forty days,' ' Twenty days.' Nuyan Kukul- 
dash said, ' We shall take it in 14.' God showed him right ! we did 
take it in exactly 14 days. 

" Just at that time I had a wonderful dream : — His Highness 
Khwaja 'Ubaid'1-lah (Ahrari) seemed to come ; I seemed to go out 
to give him honourable meeting ; he came in and seated himself ; 
people seemed to lay a table-cloth before him, apparently without 
sufficient care, and, on account of this, something seemed to come 
into his Highness the Khwaja's mind. MuUa Baba (? Pashaghari) 
made me a sign ; I signed back, ' Not through me ! the table- 



56 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

layer is in fault ! ' The ELhwaja understood and accepted the 
excuse. When he rose, I escorted him out. In the hall of that 
house he took hold of either my right or left arm and lifted me up 
till one of my feet was off the ground, saying, in Turki, ' Shaikh 
Maslahat has given (Samarkand).' I really took Samarkand a few 
days later. 

" In two or three days move was made from Fort Asfidik to 
Fort Wasmand. Although by our first approach, we had let our 
plan be known, we put our trust in God and made another ex- 
pedition to Samarkand. It was after the Mid-day Prayer that we 
rode out of Fort Wasmand, Khwaja Abu'l-makaram accompanying 
us. By midnight we reached the Deep-fosse-bridge in the Avenue. 
From there we sent forward a detachment of 70 or 80 good men 
who were to set up ladders opposite the Lovers' -cave, mount them 
and get inside, stand up to those in the Turquoise Gate, get possession 
of it and send a man to me. Those braves went, set their ladders up 
opposite the Lovers' -cave, got in without making any one aware, 
went to the Gate, attacked Fazil Tarkhan, chopped at him and his 
few retainers, killed them, broke the lock with an axe, and opened 
the Gate. At that moment I came up and went in. 

" Abu'l-qasim Kohbur himself had not come with us, but had 
sent 30 or 40 of his retainers under his younger brother, Ahmad-i- 
qasim. No man of Ibrahim Tarkhan's was with us ; his younger 
brother, Ahmad Tarkhan, came with a few retainers after I had 
entered the town and taken post in the Monastery. 

" The townspeople were still slumbering ; a few traders peeped 
out of their shops, recognised me, and put up prayers. When, a 
little later, the news spread through the town, there was rare delight 
and satisfaction for our men and the townsfolk. They killed the 
Auzbegs in the lanes and gullies with clubs and stones like mad dogs ; 
four or five hundred were killed in this fashion. Jan-wafa, the 
then governor, was living in Khwaja Yahya's house ; he fled and 
got away to Shaibaq Khan. 

" On entering the Turquoise Gate I went straight to the College 
and took post over the arch of the Monastery. There was a hubbub 
and shouting of ' Down ! down ! ' till day- break. Some of the 
notables and traders, hearing what was happening, came joyfully 
to see me, bringing what food was ready and putting up prayers 
for me. At daylight we had news that the Auzbegs were fighting 
in the Iron Gate, where they had made themselves fast between the 




THE STORMING OF SAMARKAND. 

{Agra Codex.) 



THE TRAINING OF A WARRIOR 57 

(outer and inner) doors. With 10, 15 or 20 men, I at once set off 
for the Gate, but before I came up, the town-rabble, busy ran- 
sacking every comer of the newly-taken town for loot, had driven 
the Auzbegs out through it. Shaibaq Khan, on hearing what was 
happening, hurried at sunrise to the Iron Gate with 100 or 140 men. 
His coming was a wonderful chance, but, as has been said, my men 
were very few. Seeing that he could do nothing, he rode off at 
once. From the Iron Gate I went to the citadel and there dismounted, 
at the Bu-stan palace. Men of rank and consequence and various 
head-men came to me there, saw me and invoked blessings on me. 
" Samarkand for nearly 140 years had been the capital of our 
dynasty. An aHen, and of what stamp ! an Auzbeg foe, had taken 
possession of it ! It had shpped from our hands ; God gave it again 1 
plundered and ravaged, our own returned to us." ^ 

Such was the story of what was perhaps the most dashing 
of Babur's many daring exploits, and this alone would have 
secured him the fame he prized. But for all his love of action, 
it is perhaps in his patience and his endurance that he shows 
most plainly his greatness of mind. We shall see in the next 
chapter how he remained cheerful under successive shocks of 
adversity that would have driven most men to suicide ; how 
he still retains his quiet confidence, relaxing no whit of his 
endeavours, while his dearest ambitions one by one lie withered 
at his feet, and his most trusted friends turn their back upon 
him in his day of adversity. 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 131-34. 



CHAPTER III 

DAYS OF ADVERSITY 

Authorities. — Bahur-nama ; Tarikh-i-Rashidi ; Habib-us-Siyar ; 
Shaibani Nama ; Mir Khwand's RauzaUus-Safa (ed. Rehatsek). 
Modern Works. — Erskine ; Lane Poole. 

Babur had now won Samarkand for the second time against 
overwhelming odds, and his daring had been crowned ^vith 
complete success. But the difficulty which had been over- 
come was as nothing to that which now confronted him. He 
had only some two hundred of his veterans, and for the rest, 
must rely upon the enthusiastic but undisciplined valour of 
the town mob. Outside the walls was Shaibani, with a force 
of five or six thousand men, well trained, well armed, well 
equipped, burning to revenge the unexpected wresting of the 
city from their grasp. 

From the moment, however, these troubles seemed to melt 
away in magical fashion. The whole countryside came over 
to Babur. Shavdar, Sogd, and the neighbouring fortresses 
one by one expelled their Uzbeg garrisons, or placed them 
under restraint and declared for the young prince of Samar- 
kand. The affairs of Shaibani were in a very bad way : and 
at this inopportune moment arrived the wives and families 
of himself and of his chiefs, whom he had summoned from 
Turkistan when his triumph in Samarkand had seemed so 
complete. This combination of circumstances determined 
him to draw off to Bokhara, whence he could observe the 
fortunes of Babur and choose his own moment for striking a 
return blow at his rival. 

Babur was well aware of the difficulties of his position ; 



DAYS OF ADVERSITY 59 

but made up his mind to keep hold of Samarkand as long as 
ever he could. Now was the opportunity, he felt, to curb once 
for all the ambition of Shaibani, so dangerous not only to the 
Prince of Farghana, but to the whole of his kin, the house of 
Timur. As the visible sign of his determination, he sent for 
his wife and his mothers. A few days after their arrival, his 
first child was born, but the infant, Fakhru'n-nisa, as she was 
named, died some six weeks afterwards. Babur had not much 
time for grief. He was despatching embassy after embassy 
to his Timurid kinsmen, urging them to send assistance, so that 
Shaibani might be crushed once for all. The response he 
received was very discouraging. From some he got a curt 
refusal ; by others his request was ignored. From two 
sources only did he get insignificant help. His maternal 
uncles, the Khans, sent him four or five hundred men : his 
brother Jahangir, now sole ruler of Farghana, sent him a couple 
of hundred more. 

After strengthening himself as well as he could throughout 
the winter, Babur determined in the beginning of 1501 to take 
the field. Doubtless he hoped that if he undertook a regular 
campaign against the Uzbegs, his kinsmen would abandon 
their apathetic attitude, and join their forces to his own. In 
this, as will be seen, he was partly justified. Moreover, 
Shaibani had begun to recover some of the ground he had 
lost in the summer before. He had regained the two forts of 
Qara-Kul and Dabusi, the first by the withdrawal of its garrison, 
the second by assault. These considerations, together, induced 
Babur to take the hazardous step of meeting his antagonist in 
the open. 

Accordingly, in the months of April — May, 1501, Babur 
marched out of the city, and took up his position at the place 
called Bridge-head. He fortified his camp strongly with 
ditches and close-set branches, and awaited the coming of 
friend and foe. The foe was the first to arrive. Shaibani, 
who desired nothing better than to catch his enemy outside 
the strong walls of Samarkand, hurried up, and attempted to 
overwhelm Babur by a series of night attacks. But despite 



60 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

his superiority in numbers, he could not force the strong 
position of his antagonist. Shaibani's situation was now 
critical. He had not been able to force an engagement and 
help was at hand, which would go some way towards offsetting 
that superiority in numbers which was his only hope. Although 
Sultan Husain Mirza Baiqara, Badi-uz-Zaman Mirza, and 
Khosru Shah remained inactive, yet Baqi Turkhan, head of 
the Samarkand party whom Shaibani had ruined, was only 
two days off, waiting to join Babur with about 2000 men ; 
and Muhammad Mirza Dughlat, only a few hours off, was in 
command of a body of auxiliaries of about the same strength, 
despatched to Babur's help by his uncle the Khan. Matters 
were in this condition, when Babur deliberately threw away 
his chances of victory by engaging before his reinforcements 
arrived. 

" The reason I was so eager to engage," he says, " was that on 
the day of battle the Eight Stars were between the two armies : they 
would have been in the enemy's rear for 13 or 14 days if the fight 
had been deferred. -1 now understand that these considerations 
are worth nothing, and that our haste was without reason."^, 

Babur was soon to have ample cause to regret his 
astrological superstitions. He marched his men out in the 
traditional formation, van, centre, right and left, and en- 
countered the foe. His right rested upon the river Kohik 
— a fact which determined the course of the battle, for 
Shaibani determined to drive him into it. The Uzbeg 
leader wheeled his right round Babur's left, and Babur, to 
avoid being outflanked, had to swing round to meet him, 
with his back to the river. This uncovered his centre, for the 
van, not having time to move round, remained on the right 
of the new position. Despite the stout fighting of the Samar- 
kand troops, who at one time seemed likely to win the day by 

• A. S. Boveridge, 139. Piriahta II. 20 has a story that the subse- 
quent defeat was due to the sudden desertion of the troops of Mahmud 
Khan and Jahangir Mirza ; but this looks like later invention, and I 
find no confirmation of it. Perhaps it is a distorted version of the 
plundering of Babur's baggage by his Mongol auxiliaries. 



BATTLE OF SARIPUL. 

ApjML-Ma y 1501. 



POSITION I 






A 
L C 




m(^rK^ 



nd 



roS<^ 



Kohik River 



POSITION 2. 



r£7 "#1 




soma'' 



Kohik River 



Kaiid 



L - Left Wing 
C - Centre 
A - Advance Guard 
R - /?/y/7£ JV/n^ 



dabur's troops 
\ i Shai bonis troops 



62 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

sheer valour, Babur's left was crushed, his centre was taken 
in front and rear : and at the last moment the Uzbegs swung 
round both ends of his line, and attacked his rear in their 
terrible wheeling charge, the tulghma., which was their national 
manoeuvre. Babur's Mongol auxiliaries, seeing that the day 
was lost, added to the confusion by plundering the baggage — 
, a full confirmation, as Babur bitterly remarks, of the innate 
"^ depravity of their nature. There was no further hope of 
saving the day. With the half-score men who still remained 
with him, Babur swam his horse across the Kohik, accoutred 
as he was in heavy mail, and rode hard for Samarkand. 

The consequences of the defeat of Sar-i-pul were most 
disastrous. Some of Babur's best men had fallen — Ibrahim 
Tarkhan, Ibrahim Saru, Ibrahim Jan, and others ; several 
more, like Muhammad Tarkhan and Kanbar Ali, fled for the 
time to Khosru. Many of his intimates deserted his fortunes 
altogether. None the less, Babur had no thoughts of submis- 
sion, despite the fact that all the country save Samarkand 
itself quickly came into Shaibani's hand. He summoned a 
council of his begs, " and," he says, " after consultation, 
we resolved to make the fort fast, and look for life or death 
within it." ^ 

Babur himself took up his quarters in the middle of the 
town, in tents pitched on the roof of Ulugh Beg Mirza's college. 
He then disposed his trustiest men to the towers and gates of 
the city walls, and awaited the arrival of Shaibani. He took 
all precautions against a surprise, frequently making the 
round of the walls in person. 

In two or three days the Uzbeg arrived, but for several 
days more he could not get near to the walls on account of the 
valour of the town mob, which harassed his men as they at- 
tempted to force a way through the suburbs. Growing bolder 
with success, the rabble tried making sallies against the 
besiegers, but were enticed into the open, caught, and roughly 
handled. Soon Shaibani had the town well enclosed. The 

» A. S. Beveridge, 141 ; cf. P. de Courteille, i. 197 (IlminBki, 111). 



DAYS OF ADVERSITY 63 

garrison was hopelessly inadequate, and more than once the 
Uzbegs actually succeeded in gaining entrance in an unde- 
fended quarter, only to be expelled by desperate fighting. 

The siege dragged on all through the summer, and pro- 
visions began to run short. i The poorer classes began to feed 
on dogs and asses, and the horses of the garrison had to be 
fed on leaves 2 and wood-shavings. Having isolated the city, 
Shaibani made no further attacks upon it, but invested it from 
some distance, keeping the worn-out garrison continually 
alarmed. Envoys and messengers had been sent repeatedly 
to all sides and quarters for help, but none came. " Sultan 
Husain Mirza," complains Babur, " gave us not even the help 
of an encouraging message," but on the contrary sent an envoy 
to Shaibani. 

Babur's position was now hopeless, and his men began to 
desert. 

" Of help from any side we utterly despaired," he says, " no hop© 
was left in any quarter : our supplies and provisions were wretched, 
what there was was coming to an end ; no more came in. Meantime 
Shaibaq Khan interjected talk of peace. Little ear would have 
been given to his talk of peace if there had been hope or food from 
any side. It had to be ! a sort of peace was made." ^ 

Babur does not tell us what the terms of the peace were ; 
he was evidently bitterly ashamed of them. But from other 
sources of information we learn that he was compelled to 
surrender the town at discretion, and to hand over his eldest 
sister, Khanzada Begam, in marriage to his enemy as the price 
for a safe-conduct for himself and the remaining members of 
his family.'* It must have been a bitter blow to Babur's 
pride. He was now once more a wanderer, for Farghana, 
according to treaty, was in Jahangir's hands. 

^ On the other hand, Shaibani, with the resources of the country at 
his disposal, enjoyed the utmost plenty {Shaibani Nama)^ 

* Mulberry and elm leaves were found the best. 

» A. S. Beveridge, 147; cf. P. de Courteille, i. 205 (Ilmmski, 116). 

* Shaibani Nama, chap, xxxix. ; Habib-uS'Siyar/\\.Z\^; Gulbadan 
Begam'a Humayun Nama, f. 36, ed. A. S. Beveridge, p. 2. 



64 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF^THE 16TH CENTURY 

He had formed a fairly accurate idea of Shaibani's character, 
and accordingly put no reliance whatever upon the safe- 
conduct. He slipped out of the town at midnight with his 
mother and a few followers, intending to go to Auratipa, which 
he determined to beg from the Khan his uncle. He lost his 
way in the darkness, ^ and was hardly out of danger when day 
dawned. Babur, despite his situation, retained his gaiety, 
and beguiled the weary road by racing with Kasim Beg and 
Kambar Ali, sustaining, incidentally, a nasty fall. " My horse 
was leading," he says, *' when I, thinking to look at theirs 
behind, twisted myself round ; the girth may have slackened, 
for my saddle turned, and I was thrown on my head to the 
ground. Although I got up at once and remounted, my brain 
did not steady until the evening." Running short of provisions, 
it was found necessary to kill a horse, the flesh of which was 
spitted and roasted. Babur dared not halt for long ; he was 
still in the power of his foes. All night the wearied party 
rode on, until, as dawn broke, they found themselves in 
friendly country. Shortly afterwards, they came to Dizak. 
" There," says Babur, " were fat meats, loaves of fine flour, 
plenty of sweet melons, and abundance of excellent grapes. 
From what privation we came to such plenty ! From what 
stress to what repose ! " 2 

Babur had now to find some refuge for the winter, which 
was rapidly drawing on. Depositing what baggage he had 
with him in the Auratipan village of Dikh-kat, he went to visit 
his uncle Mahmud Khan and his household. The Khan 
received him kindly, it seems, and actually made a half- 
promise to give Auratipa to his nephew ; but when Babur went 
to stay with Muhammad Husain Mirza, who held it, he found 
it impossible to get it handed over. So after spending a few 
days in Auratipa, he decided to make the best of things, and 
be content with Dikh-kat. Characteristically enough, he 
adapted himself to his surroundings in a whole-hearted manner, 

^ The night was extraordinarily dark (Sliaibani Nama, A. S. B., 147, 
n. 4). 

• A. S. Beveridge, 147, 148. 



DAYS OF ADVERSITY 65 

abandoning all pretensions, and living as a simple guest in the 
headman's house. Here an encounter took place which was 
destined to exercise^tt' supreme influence upon the shaping of 
his subsequent career. The headman was seventy or eighty 
years old, but his mother was still alive, aged 111. " Some 
relation of hers," says Babur, ''would seem to have gone 
with Timur Beg's army to Hindustan ; she had this in her 
mind, and used to tell the tale." i The stories the old lady 
told about the exploits of Babur's great ancestor fired the 
imagination of the young prince, and from this time forward, 
there can be little doubt, the dream of renewing Timur's 
triumph in Hindustan remained at the back of his mind. There 
were, however, many troubles to be bravely endured, many 
difficulties to be encountered, before the dream was to be 
fulfilled. Meanwhile he lived the ordinary life of a hillman. 
" I constantly made excursions amongst the mountains round 
about. Generally I went barefoot, and from doing this so 
much, my feet became so that rock and stone made no 
difference to them." 2 To such a pass was come the late Sultan 
of Samarkand. Yet his cheerfulness diminished no whit. 
He tells with glee how one of his followers scored off a rustic, 
who had tried to be humorous at the expense of the strangers. 
Being in doubt as to where a mountain track led, Babur 
inquired of an oxherd. " Follow my ox," said the fellow, 
with a grin, " and don't stop till he does." " But supposing 
he leaves the track ? " says Khwaja Asadu'l'lah, and leaves 
the rustic gaping. 

Winter coming on, several of Babur's soldiers asked leave 
to go and visit their kin in Andijan. It was considered a 
politic stroke to send by them some presents to Jahangir, 
now ruler of Farghana, and Tambal, his right-hand man. 
Accordingly, Babur sent to his younger brother his own ermine 
cap, and to Tambal a large sword, which Nuyan Kukuldash, 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 160; cf. P. de Courteille, i. 210 (Ilminski, 118). 
As Delhi was taken in the winter 1398-9, the old lady must have been 
a very young girl, about five years old, at the time. Doubtless her 
" recollections " had not lost in frequent telling. 

2 A. S. Beveridge, 160. 

P 



66 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Babur's particular friend, had had made in Samarkand. 
Within twelve months, by a singular coincidence, this very 
sword was to come near putting a sudden end to the donor's 
career. 

Soon, however, came news which brought Babur out of his 
retirement. Shaibani had crossed the Khojend river, and was 
plundering the districts of Shahrukhia and Bishkint. On the 
chance of striking a blow at his enemy, Babur got to horse at 
once. The expedition, however, was not a success. The 
Uzbegs had retired before Babur came up ; the weather was 
so bitter that he lost several men from the cold ; and on the 
way back his dear friend Nuyan Kukuldash, the owner of the 
Samarkandi sword, met his death under suspicious circum- 
stances near the home of a private enemy.i This last tragic 
event upset Babur very much. " His death made me strangely 
sad," he says ; " for few men have I felt such grief. I wept 
unceasingly for a week or ten days." 2 

The spring came, and with it another raid of Shaibani, 
this time round about Auratipa. Again Babur attempted to 
strike at him, and again he escaped. Babur was now wearied 
of inaction. " It passed through my mind," he says, " that 
to wander from mountain to mountain, homeless and house- 
less, without country or abiding-place, had nothing to recom- 
mend it, * Go you right o£E to the Khan,' I said to myself." 
No sooner said than done. Babur set o£E with his few 
followers, and joined his uncle in Tashkint. The Khan was 
in the midst of a demonstration in force against Tambal, who 
had been raiding Auratipa. Babur came just in time to 
witness the curious Mongol ceremony of acclaiming the 
standards, which he describes in some detail; but was dis- 
gusted to find that his uncle did not mean to make any real 
attempt against the enemy. " This move of the Khan's," 



* He was found dead at the bottom of a ravine, and the story was 
that he had fallen down in a drunken condition when on his way home 
from an entertainment at his enemy's house. Babur did not believe It, 
and he was in a position to judge. 

» A. S. Beveridge, 162. 




THE MONGOL ARMY SALUTING THE YAKTAIL STANDARDS. 

{Agra Codex.) 



DAYS OF ADVEESITY 67 

he says, " was rather unprofitable : to take no fort, to beat 
no foe, he went out and went back " ^ 

Babur was now to experience the bitterest fate which can 
befall a sensitive prince — dependence upon the charity of his 
relatives. " During my stay in Tashkint," he writes, " I 
endured much poverty and humiliation. No country, or hope 
of one. Most of my retainers dispersed ; those left, unable 
to move about with me because of their destitution ! If I 
went to my uncle's gate, I went sometimes with one man, 
sometimes with two. It was well he was no stranger, but 
one of my own blood." ^ To do the Khan justice, he seems 
to have tried to be kind to his unfortunate nephew : Babur 
speaks always of him in the most affectionate terms, using 
the word dada (father) to describe him. Most of the young 
prince's troubles seem to have arisen from the lack of outlet 
for his energy. He chafed against inaction, and he found versi- 
fication, which he now took up, but small solace. Anything 
was better than this purposeless existence. With character- 
istic love of adventure, he decided to go to China — a country 
which he had always wished to visit, apparently because it 
was remote and the journey was dangerous. The difficulty 
was to get away from his relatives, who interpreted every 
desire to travel as a sign that something had been lacking in 
their hospitality, and thereupon redoubled their attentions. 
At last he hit upon the excuse of going to visit his uncle Ahmad, 
the younger Khan, who had lived remote for twenty years in 
the fastnesses of Northern Mughalistan, with the object of 
persuading him to join forces with his brother against Shaibani. 
But, as fate would have it, Ahmad Khan took it into his head 
at that very time to pay the visit himself, and Babur's excuse 
fell to the ground. 

Babur gives a brilliant sketch of this strange new uncle 
of his, whom no one had seen for so long. " He was a man of 
singular manners," writes Babur, " a mighty master of the 
sword, and brave. ... He never parted with his keen-edged 
sword, it was either at his waist or to his hand. He was a 
1 A. S Beveridge, 167. ^ilbid. 



68 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

little rustic and rough of speech, through having grown up 
in an out-of-the-way place." ^ None the less, Ahmad was a 
stickler for etiquette, and was mightily disconcerted when 
Babur happened to meet him unceremoniously, in the course 
of a ride. In his old-fashioned, long Mongol dress, surrounded 
by his retainers in their coats of Chinese satin broidered with 
stitchery, and their green shagreen saddles, he presented a 
striking figure in Babur 's eyes. But he received his nephew 
kindly, and gave him a dress of his own, which served as a 
disguise so complete that, as Babur relates with glee, even 
Khwajah Abu'l Makaram did not know him as he rode in his 
uncle's train, but inquired : " Who is this honoured Sultan ? '** 

The two brothers, the Elder and the Younger Kians, met 
with great ceremony. 

They then took council together, and determined to 
expel Tambal, now virtual master of Farghana in the name 
of Jahangir, and to restore Babur. With a joint force of some 
30,000 men they marched for Audi j an, leaving Tashkint, as 
Mir Khwand tells us,3 on July 21st, 1502.4 it was agreed that 
Babur, in command of a strong detachment, should work 
round by Ush and Auzkint, and turn Tambal's rear, while 
the Khans, with the main body, should attack him in front. 
The movement promised brilliantly : Ush gladly surrendered : 
Marghilan followed its example after a day or two, and the 
whole countryside welcomed Babur with the greatest en- 
thusiasm. The capital, Andijan, alone held out south of the 
river ; but to the north, Tambal was still master, and re- 
mained watching the Khans carefully, in a strongly-fortified 
camp near Akhsi. Twice did Babur attempt Andijan itself, 
which was only kept from returning to its loyalty by Tambal's 
garrison, and each time success was prevented by a mischance. 
The first occasion saw two divisions of the attacking party 
fall foul of one another in the darkness through a mistake in 
the password ; the second occasion witnessed a greater 
disaster. The circumstances were as follows. Tambal's 

1 A. S. Bovoridge, 160, 161. « Ibid., 161. 

• Rauzat-tM-8afa. * Muharram 16th. 



DAYS OF ADVERSITY 69 

affairs were in a bad way : his garrison in Andijan was begin- 
ning to disperse, his friends had lost heart, and Babur was 
assured by all that the capital was his. Accordingly the young 
prince advanced, dispersed at nightfall a handful of troops 
which barred his passage, and encamped at the outskirts of 
the city, prepared to enter next day at his leisure. So 
confident was he of his triumph, that he encamped on level 
ground, without posting sentries or vedettes. 

Meanwhile Tambal, aghast at the success which Babur 
was winning in the south, determined to see whether his own 
presence would not turn the tide. He broke up his camp near 
Akhsi, and rode hard for Andijan. Babur had been informed 
of this movement on the part of his adversary, but with the 
rashness of inexperience, took no precautions against it. 
Tambal arrived at the very time when he was least expected, 
and surprised Babur's careless camp. 

Babur's force was dispersed, his chance of seizing Andijan 
was lost, and there was nothing for him to do but to rejoin 
his uncles. The Khans had moved away from Akhsi in pursuit 
of Tambal, and were now close to Andijan. They received 
him very kindly : Ahmad Khan in particular congratulating 
him on his bravery, and sending his own surgeon to treat 
his wounds. But Babur was dismayed to find that the places 
which had submitted were being assigned to the Younger 
Khan, not to himself, the rightful owner. The Akhsi country, 
which was poor, was assigned to Babur, while the rich southern 
country was given to Ahmad. The Elder Khan said very 
frankly that his brother, being remote from his own land, 
must have a base : that when they had made full preparations, 
they would expel Shaibani from Samarkand, reinstate Babur, 
and take Farghana as their reward. The plan was not un- 
reasonable, on the face of it, but Babur did not trust his uncles. 
However, it had to be. Some of his men openly advised him 
to make peace with Tambal, divide the country with him, 
and expel the Mongols. But Babur, to his honour, refused to 
entertain the notion. " Would that be right ? " said he. "The 
Khans are my blood relations : better serve them than rule for 



70 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Tambal." i Babur accordingly, set out to reduce the districts 
of Akhsi, while the Khans besieged Andijan — a curious reversal 
of the previous plan of operations. 

No very striking success was obtained by either party. 
The Khans had no claim upon the allegiance of the Andijanis, 
who would not yield to them. Babur failed to surprise Akhsi, 
and nearly lost Pap, which had admitted his men, through the 
carelessness of the commanding officer. Yet Tambal's affairs 
looked so unpromising, that he determined to make an attempt 
to divide his antagonists. If he could come to some agreement 
with Babur, the Khans would have no standing ground : and 
must either retire or openly acknowledge an intention to 
deprive their nephew of his dominions. Accordingly, Shaikh 
Bayazid, Tambal's brother, who commanded in Akhsi, sent 
Babur a pressing invitation to go there. Babur gave the 
Khans a hint of what the enemy's probable intentions were, 
and they urged Babur to go to Akhsi and take the first oppor- 
tunity of laying hands on Bayazid. This Babur refused to do, 
out of a sense of honour, but agreed to enter Akhsi and try and 
win him over. Babur accordingly accepted Bayazid's proposals, 
entered the city, and was given camping ground in the outer fort.. 

Tambal, however, had one trump card left. He invoked 
the aid of Shaibani. The ruler of Samarkand, well aware that 
the ruin of Tambal would mean an immediate attack upon 
himself, determined to take the offensive. Telling Tambal 
that he was soon coming, he encouraged him to hold out. 
The Khans, who were not prepared for the advent of a foe so 
formidable, at once broke up their camp in confusion, and 
marched round by Marghilan, in order to regain their own 
country without coming into contact with Shaibani. Tambal 
was hard at their heels, and the country-people, who had 
been treated very badly by the barbarous Mongol troopers, 
rose everywhere behind them. Before relating the disasters 
which overtook them, we must follow the fortunes of their 
nephew. 

One morning, when Babur was in the hot bath, who should 
» A. S. Beveridge, 169. 



DAYS OF ADVERSITY 71 

come but his brother Jahangir, a fugitive from Tambal and 
Tambal's ally the terrible Shaibani. He told Babur of the 
retreat of the Khans, and urged him to seize his host Bayazid 
and defend Akhsi, But Babur, with a fine sense of honour, 
refused to break his word even under these circumstances, 
though Bayazid had time to withdraw into the citadel, and 
hold it for his brother. Thither a few hours later, came Tambal 
himself, with a strong force of two or three thousand picked 
men. The mischief was done ; but Babur, with his five or 
six score, determined to hold the town itself. At one time it 
looked as though a fight might be avoided, for Shaikh Bayazid 
came spurring up with talk of peace, and Babur agreed to a 
conference. But at the last moment Jahangir, to Babur's 
great indignation, treacherously kidnapped the envoy, and 
thus brought about a struggle which both sides would rather 
have avoided. How the forces of Babur were finally driven 
out of the town is vividly described by that prince, and is here 
reproduced in Mrs. A. S. Beveridge's spirited rendering : — ■ 

" One side of the town was put into Jahangir Mirza's charge ; as 
his men were few, I told off some of mine to reinforce him. I went 
first to his side and posted men for the fight, then to other parts of 
the town. There is a somewhat level, open space in the middle of 
Akhsi ; I had posted a party of braves there and gone on when a 
large body of the enemy, mounted and on foot, bore down upon them, 
drove them from their post and forced them into a narrow lane. 
Just then I came up (the lane), galloped my horse at them, and 
scattered them in flight. While I was thus driving them out from 
the lane into the flat, and had got my sword to work, they shot my 
horse in the leg ; it stumbled and threw me there amongst them. 
I got up quickly and shot one arrow off. My squire Kahil (lazy) 
had a weakly pony ; he got oft' and led it to me. Mounting this, 
I started for another lane-head. SI. Muh. Wais noticed the 
weakness of my mount, dismounted and led me his own. I mounted 
that horse. Just then, Qasim Beg's son, Qambar-ali came, wounded, 
from Jahangir Mirza and said the Mirza had been attacked some 
time before, driven off in panic, and had gone right away. We 
were thunderstruck ! At the same moment arrived Sayyid Qasim, 
the commandant of Pap ! His was a most unseasonable visit, 



72 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

since at such a crisis it was well to have such a strong fort in our 
hands. Said I to Ibrahim Beg, ' What's to be done now ? ' He was 
slightly wounded ; whether because of this or because of stupefaction, 
he could give no useful answer. My idea was to get across the bridge, 
destroy it and make for Andijan. Baba Sher-zad did very well 
here. ' We will storm out at the gate and get away at once,' he said. 
At his word, we set off for the Gate. Khwaja Mir Miran also spoke 
boldly at that crisis. In one of the lanes, Sayyid Qasim and Nasir's 
Dost chopped away at Baqi Khiz, I being in front with Ibrahim Beg 
and Mirza Quli Kukuldash. As we came opposite to the Gate, we 
saw Shaikh Bayazid, wearing his pull-over shirt above his vest, 
coming in with three or four horsemen. He must have been put 
into the charge of Jahangir's men in the morning when, against my 
will, he was made prisoner, and they must have carried him off when 
they got away. They had thought it would be well to kill him ; 
they set him free alive. He had been released just when I chanced 
upon him in the Gate. I drew and shot off the arrow on my thumb : 
it grazed his neck, a good shot ! He came confusedly in at the Gate, 
turned to the right and fled down a lane. We followed him in- 
stantly. Mirza Quli Kukuldash got at one man with his rugged - 
mace and went on. Another man took aim at Ibrahim Beg, but 
when the Beg shouted ' Hai ! Hai ! ' let him pass and shot me in 
the arm-pit, from as near as a man on guard at a Gate. Two plates 
of my Qalmaq mail were cut ; he took to flight and I shot after him. 
Next I shot at a man running away along the ramparts, adjusting 
for his cap against the battlements ; he left his cap nailed on the wall 
and went off, gathering his turban-sash together in his hand. Then 
again, a man was in flight alongside me in the lane down which 
Shaikfi Bayazid had gone. I pricked the back of his head with my 
sword ; he bent over from his horse till he leaned agaiust the wall 
of the lane, but he kept his seat and with some trouble made good 
his flight. When we had driven all the enemy's men from the Gate, 
we took possession of it, but the affair was past discussion because 
they, in the citadel, were 2000 or 3000, we, in the outer fort, 100 or 
200. Moreover, they had chased off JahangLr Mirza, as long before 
as it takes milk to boil, and with him had gone half my men. This 
notwithstanding, we sent a man, while we were in the Gate, to say 
to him, ' If you are near at hand, come, let us attack again ! ' But 
the matter had gone past that ! Ibrahim Beg, either because his 
horse was really weak or because of his wound, said, ' My horse is 



DAYS OF ADVERSITY 73 

done.' On this, Sulaiman, one of Muh. All's Mubashir's servants, 
did a plucky thing, for with matters as they were and none con- 
straining him, while we were waiting in the Gate, he dismounted 
and gave his horse to Ibrahim Beg. Kichik (little) 'Ali, now the 
Governor of Koel, also showed courage while we were in the Gate ; 
he was a retainer of SI. Muh. Wais and twice did well, here and in 
Aush. We delayed in the Gate till those sent to Jahangir Mirza 
came back and said he had gone off long before. It was too late to 
stay there ; off we flung ; it was ill-judged to have stayed as long as 
we did. Twenty or thirty men were with me. Just as we hustled 
out of the Gate, a number of armed men came right down upon us, 
reaching the town-side of the drawbridge just as we had crossed. 
Banda-ali, the maternal grandfather of Qasim Beg's son, Hamza, 
called out to Ibrahim Beg, ' You are always boasting of your zeal ! 
Let's take to our swords ! ' ' What hinders ? Come along ! ' said 
Ibrahim Beg, from beside me. The senseless fellows were for dis- 
playing their zeal at a time of such disaster ! Ill-timed zeal ! That 
was no time to make stand or delay ! We went off quickly, the enemy 
following and unhorsing our men." ^ 

With Tambal's men hard at his heels, Babur galloped off. 
One by one his worse-mounted followers were overtaken and 
unhorsed, and at last only he himself was left, while his 
pursuers were reduced to two. Fearing to drive him to 
extremes, they swore to lead him to his uncles the Khans, but 
treacherously sent to inform the Akhsi authorities of the young 
prince's whereabouts. Meanwhile they concealed him, as 
they pretended, from pursuit, but in reality, from the sight 
of parties of his friends who were looking for him. Yusuf, 
Bayazid's commandant, arrived at last with a party to arrest 
him. Babur, who was prepared for death, knelt down in a 
corner of the garden where he was hiding, and performed the 
proper ceremonies for quitting this life. 

At this precise moment, tantalisingly enough, the Memoirs 
break off for some sixteen months. Somebody, probably 
Babur's great-grandson, the Emperor Jahangir,^ was so vexed 
that he wrote an elaborate ending to the adventure, which 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 174-6. 

* Tuzuk-i'Jahangiri, ed. Rogers and H. Beveridge, i. 109. 



74 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

has slipped into the text, and is reproduced in full by Pavet 
de Courteille and Lane Poole. According to this, Babur's 
friends rode up just in time to save him from assassination, 
arrested his captors, and escorted him in safety to the Khans 
in Andijan. Unfortunately, there is not only a grave dis- 
crepancy of style between this passage and the rest of the 
Memoirs ; but there are gross errors of chronology and cir- 
cumstance. The Khans were not in Andijan at all, the names 
of Babur's rescuers are mentioned nowhere else, and the par- 
ticulars of his subsequent movements are erroneous. i 

Rescued he was, however ; but of the particulars we know 
nothing. For his doings during the next sixteen months, we 
have to rely on other sources of information, particularly the 
Shaibani-nama.^ He succeeded in joining his uncles, and was 
given a command of 1000 men. Farghana was now entirely 
in the hands of Shaibani, but the Khans did not propose to 
endure quietly the blow that had been inflicted upon their 
pride. Collecting their resources throughout the winter, they 
determined on a joint campaign. Shaibani, seeing that the 
struggle was to be deadly, retired to Samarkand to order his 
affairs for the contest. Babur's brother Jahangir took ad- 
vantage of this withdrawal to seize Khojend. 

The first incident in the campaign of 1503 was the siege 
and capture of Khojend by Shaibani, after a hard struggle. 
Meanwhile the Khans and Babur had advanced into Farghana, 
and were now in the neighbourhood of Akhsi. They designed 
to march straight on Andijan, which was once more in the 
possession of Tambal. The mass of their troops had been 
left in Tashkint to watch Shaibani, while they themselves 
moved quickly with a light force. By way of additional 
precaution, Auratipa was held by Muhammad Husain Kurkan, 

^ The credit of having finally demonstrated the spuriousncss of this 

Eassage, which occurs both in the Ilminski and the Hyderabad codices, 
ut not in the Persian translations, is due to Mrs. Beveridge. See Appen- 
dix D. to her Fasciculus I., where the question is fully discussed. 

" Further information is afforded by the Tarikh-i-Rashidi, the Habib- 
ua-Siyar, and the Alim arai Abasai, which are the sources of the connected 
narratives found in Firishta (II. 23), and Khwafi Khan {Muntakhab ul 
Lubab, Bib. Ind. edition, vol. i., etc.). 



DAYS OF ADVERSITY 75 

who was to delay Shaibani as long as possible. But un- 
fortunately for themselves, they lingered some days near 
Akhsi, where Bayazid, doubtless by Shaibani's orders, was 
delaying them by talking of surrender. Shaibani, on his part, 
dexterously slipping between the forces set to watch him, 
descended like a thunderbolt in overwhelming force upon the 
two Khans. 1 So quickly did he move, that he arrived at the 
same time as the couriers who hurried to warn them. The 
decisive action took place at Archian.2 The Khans were 
utterly routed ; their force dispersed ; they were captured and 
brought to Shaibani. He spared their lives, at least for the 
moment, and dismissed them with marks of favour. " With 
your help and assistance," he is reported to have said, " I 
have won my power. I took you captive, but do not kill you ; 
I let you go." 

The subsequent fates of the unlucky brothers are briefly 
to be told. Ahmad the younger retired to Mongolistan, and 
shortly died, of sheer mortification. The story goes that as 
he pined away, his servants imagined that Shaibani had 
poisoned him, and counselled him to take an antidote. The 
Khan sighed and said : " Shaibani has indeed poisoned me. 
From a low degree of abasement he has raised himself to 
such a pitch that he has been able to take us two brothers 
prisoners, and set us free again. From this disgrace my 
malady arises. If you know of an antidote for this sort of 
poison, it will be useful indeed." 3 The elder brother also 
withdrew to the same desolate haunts, where Shaibani con- 
temptuously allowed him to remain unmolested. But being 
treacherously persuaded to leave his security and come to 
Farghana, he was basely murdered, with five of his sons, by 
Shaibani's orders. This was five years after the fatal battle. 

Meanwhile, what of Babur ? Not having his Memoirs to 
help us, we have to fall back on other sources of information. 
He succeeded in escaping from Shaibani in the rout of Archian, 

1 He is said to have had 30,000 men to the Khans' 16,000. 

* Tarihh-i-Rashidi. The battle was fought in Cancer, a.h. 908 (June, 
1503). 

• Tarikh'i-Baahidi. 



76 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

and with a very few followers attempted to take the road 
leading to Auzkint. But he found his way blocked : Shaibani 
had given orders for his capture, and to pursue his route 
would be extremely hazardous. He retraced his steps, and by 
devious paths managed at last to reach the hill country of Sukh 
and Hoshyar. For nearly a year he wandered about in great 
distress and misery, dependent for his safety upon the friendli- 
ness of the half -savage tribes of that region. ^ At this point 
\ the Memoirs are resumed, and he allows us to see him as he 
^ wanders homeless and hemmed in with enemies. His followers 
were only 300 strong, half naked, with sticks for their only 
weapons : shod in rough shoes, and clad in rags. There were 
only two tents among the whole party : Babur gave his own to 
his mother, who had managed to evade Shaibani and rejoin 
her sons. 2 But with all this misery, which might have broken 
the spirit of many a man, Babur retained his cheeriness. Not 
even two successive pieces of bad fortune could overcome 
him : the first, the desertion of his brother Jahangir, who left 
him and fled to Khorasan ; the second, the cowardice of Sultan 
Husain Mirza Baiqara, who, instead of leading the surviving 
Timurids against Shaibani, as Babur had hoped, sent a long- 
winded message to the effect that he would remain on the 
defensive. 

Well might Babur have despaired ; but the miseries he 
underwent merely strengthened his determination to battle 
on in the face of fortune. We shall see in the next chapter 
how his pluck and perseverence were once more crowned with 
the reward they deserved, and how by the freak of chance his 
feet were set fairly on the road which was to lead him direct 
to the Empire of Hindustan. 

^ Habib-us-Siyar, ii. 318. 

• Perhaps, as Mrs. Beveridge suggests, through the good offices of 
her daughter Khanzada, Shaibani's wife. 



CHAPTER IV 

KABUL 

Authorities. — Babur • nama ; Habib - us - Siyar ; Tarikh • i - Rashidi ; 
Ahsan-ut-Tawarihh ; Firishta ; Shaibani-nama. 
Modern Works. — Erskine ; Lane Poole. 

The apathy of Sultan Husain Mirza Baiqara was destined to 
have a great influence upon the fortunes of Babur. It spurred 
him to take decisive action, and it put an end to his life of 
wandering in desert places. For not only did he realise with 
clearness that he must depend entirely upon his own energies ; 
he also foresaw that Shaibani would soon take advantage of 
the divisions of the House of Timur to destroy its members 
in detail. The Uzbeg chief having taken Andijan from Tambal, 
was already advancing on Hisar and Qunduz, and the most 
ordinary considerations of prudence urged Babur to remove 
himself as far as possible from his enemy's neighbourhood. 

There was one kingdom which seemed to offer some sort 
of opportunity to a landless prince, and to it Babur now turned 
his attention. It is said ^ that in the course of his wanderings, 
he had met at Tirmiz a certain Amir Muhammad Bakr, who, 
uneasy at the growing power of the Uzbegs, proposed to support 
him with men and money. Babur, who was tired of '* moving 
from square to square like a king on a chessboard," asked his 
host frankly what he considered the most promising base 
from which to undertake operations against the Uzbegs. Amir 
Muhammad Bakr replied with equal frankness that it was no 
good thinking of Farghana, which, like many other kingdoms, 
was now entirely in Shaibani's hands ; and suggested that the 
young prince might try his fortune in Kabul. 

1 For the whole story see Firishta, ii. 23. 



78 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Kabul, as we have already seen,i had belonged to Babur's 
paternal uncle Ulugh Beg Mirza, who had ruled it first as a 
prince, and later, after the death of his father Abu Saiyid 
Mirza, as independent king. Ulugh Beg had died in 1501, 
leaving as heir an infant son, Abd-ur-razzak Mirza. In conse- 
quence, the realm soon relapsed into anarchy. Everyone who 
could raise troops declared his independence. The power was 
first seized by a certain Zikr Beg, who ruled so arbitrarily that 
he was shortly afterwards assassinated. This caused fresh 
internal commotions, which, in their turn, invited the attacks 
of external foes. The neighbouring district of Garmsir was 
ruled by Zu-n-nun Beg Arghun, Sultan Ahmad Mirza's old 
retainer, whose defence of Auratipa against Babur we have 
already noticed. Zu-n-nun's youngest son, Muhammad 
Muqim, took advantage of the troubles in Kabul to invade the 
country with a body of Hazara troops, forcing the rightful 
heir, Abd-ur-razzak, to seek refuge among the Afghans. 
Muhammad Muqim, at the tinie when Babur first began to 
turn his eyes towards Kabul, had not only taken peaceful 
possession of the capital, he had also married a daughter of 
the late ruler ; he had held his position for about two years 
and felt himself comparatively secure.^ 

Babur, however, had no intention of allowing Kabul to 
slip away from the control of his house, which had already 
suffered such grave diminution of power. Although at the 
moment his resources were extremely small, yet he had received 
many overtures from the Mongol mercenaries in the service of 
Khosru Shah. These men, always careful of their own skins, 
had begun to realise that their upstart master, able though he 
was, was but a man of straw compared with Shaibani, who 
must shortly sweep him aside without effort. Babur, on the 
other hand, in addition to being a prince of the blood and a 
warrior of repute, was known to be looking out for a sphere of 
activity which would put him for the moment beyond the reach 
of the Uzbegs. The determination of these Mongols to desert 
Khosru was strengthened by the news of Shaibani's advance on 
1 Above, p. 23. « Firishta, ii. 24. 



KABUL 79 

Qunduz, which caused their master to leave his territories and 
retire in the direction of Kabul. 

Babur, much as he disliked the Mongols, was not above 
profiting by their treachery. Moreover, he hated Khosru 
Shah, not merely as the murderer of his cousin Baisanghar and 
the blinder of his cousin Sultan Ali, but also as a time-serving 
fellow, without birth and breeding, who had once displayed a 
singular lack of courtesy at a time when he himself had chanced 
to be passing through the Qunduz country with a small 
following. Accordingly, the prince had no compunction in 
accepting the overtures of Khosru's followers, who deserted 
their old master by thousands, leaving him without a single 
man on whom he could rely. He was compelled perforce to 
enter Babur's service, on the condition that his life should 
be spared and his private fortune respected. i 

Babur, to his honour, stood fast by his engagement, and 
refused to deliver Khosru to the young Wais Mirza, who made 
the formal blood-claim for the injuries inflicted upon his 
unhappy brothers. Khosru was given an escort and dismissed, 
with three or four strings of camels laden with gold, silver and 
jewels. His camp and equipment remained in Babur's hands ; 
but there was little of value except coats of mail and horse 
accoutrements, which were shared out among the ill-furnished 
troops. 

Babur was eager to get out of the Dushi country, where 
he then was, as quickly as possible, for the advance parties of 
the Uzbegs were already in touch with his men. Accordingly 
he advanced through Ghurbund in the direction of Kabul. 
He took the Arghun faction completely by surprise.'* Sherak, 
Muqim's chief beg, was lying across Babur's path, not through 
hearing of his advance, but in order to keep Abd-ur-razzak 
from re-entering the Kabul country. Babur defeated him 
easily, and Sherak entered the service of his conqueror. An 

1 The Shaibani Nama states that Babur robbed Khosru of his 
jewels ; but the calumny is not worthy of refutation. 

* There is a concise account of the seizing of Kabul by Babur in the 
Ahaan-ui-Tawarikh (f. 106 h). 



80 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

advance was then made upon Kabul, which was surrendered 
by Muqim after a mere show of resistance. The usurper was 
allowed to march out with his retainers, goods and effects, 
and retire in peace to his father and brothers in Qandahar. 
As was usual, the Mongol troops gave trouble during the occupa- 
tion : Babur had already found it necessary to beat one of 
their braves to death for stealing a jar of oil by force ; and 
now they attempted to plunder Muqim in his retreat. Jahan- 
gir Mirza and Nasir Mirza, who had been selected to escort the 
withdrawing chieftains, could do nothing to quell the tumult. 
Babur himself had to get to horse and have some half-dozen of 
the most unruly soldiers shot or cut down. This was, however, 
the only difficulty which attended his occupation of the city. 
" It was in the last ten days of the Second Rabi (October, 1504) 
that without a fight, without an effort, by Almighty God's 
bounty and mercy, I obtained and made subject to me Kabul 
and Ghazni and their dependent districts." ^ 

The importance of Kabul was fully realised by Babur ; 
master of that country, he could turn his eyes either west to 
Samarkand or east to Hindustan. " Kabul is," he says, 
*' the intermediate point between Hindustan and Khorasan." 
Possessed of it, he had once more a base from which he could 
commence operations against his foes the Uzbegs. To make 
head against them was the problem which for some time 
engrossed him. For, as we shall see, it is not until his projects 
in the west have been brought finally to ruin, that he deter- 
mines, after some dozen years or more, to concentrate his 
attention from henceforth exclusively upon the affairs of 
Hindustan. Babur, however, did not feel strong enough to 
undertake active measures against the Uzbegs until he had put 
his house in order. For the next year or so he was fully occu- 
pied with the affairs of his new kingdom. 

The first step was to divide the spoils. To Jahangir Mirza, 

Ghazni and its dependencies were given, while Nasir Mirza 

had the district of Ningnahar with some less important places. 

Some of the begs in their turn received villages to be held as 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 199. 




A SKIRMISH WITH THE AFGHANS. 

(Agra Codex.) 



KABUL 81 

fiefs ; but Babur very carefully kept the capital, and the whole 
district dependent upon it, known as the Kabul tuman, in 
his own hands. Perhaps on account of this policy, perhaps 
because of the smallness of the country's resources, there was 
not enough booty to satisfy all the followers who had flocked 
to Babur's standard. He therefore attempted to raise money 
by taxation ; but being ignorant of the resources of his new 
domain, he made the assessment intolerably heavy. Rebellions 
resulted, the Hazaras being particularly insubordinate. Babur 
determined, therefore, to make an example of them, but his 
expedition was not very successful. It being absolutely 
necessary to get supplies from some quarter, he made up his 
mind to lead a raid in the direction of Hindustan. He marched 
along the straight Peshawar-Attok road, went through the 
Khyber, and then, instead of crossing the River Sindh, marched 
on Kohat. Here he found much cattle and corn, which was 
seized. He then marched towards Bangash, skirmishing 
perpetually with the Afghans, storming their sangurs, and 
making minarets of their heads. He lost much of his spoil, 
however, and had to keep his forces perpetually on the alert 
against surprise attacks. Every night the army was drawn 
up in the battle array, right, left, centre and van. Babur 
himself, with other members of his staff, went the rounds in 
person. By way of emphasising the danger of the position, 
soldiers found absent from their posts had their noses slit, 
and in this plight were led through the ranks as a warning to 
their comrades. The whole army was divided into six corps, 
each of which took it in turns to form the rearguard for a day 
and a night. Thanks to these precautions Babur was able to 
make his way through very dangerous country without serious 
disaster. He marched into Desht, and then south along the 
skirts of the Mehtar Sulaiman, finally reaching the Sindh at 
Bilah, a dependency of Multan. Here a conspiracy was 
revealed, headed by Baqi Chaghaniani, to place Jahangir on 
the throne instead of Babur, whose masterfulness was now, as 
ever, displeasing to his more ambitious followers. But Jahangir, 
like a dutiful brother, revealed the plot, which in consequence 

a 



82 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

came to nothing, and the army returned to Kabul by way of 
Ghazni. But while one brother had behaved well, the other 
was giving Babur considerable cause for anxiety. Nasir, 
instead of following on after Babur, as had been his orders, 
thought fit to send a private raiding expedition against the 
people of Nur Valley. This came to utter disaster through 
the incompetence of the commander. Nasir, anxious to escape 
from the rebuke he deserved, was looking for some opportunity 
to avoid meeting Babur, when he suddenly received news that 
the country of Badakhshan was in revolt against the Uzbegs. 
Without delay he marched in that direction. Unfortunately, 
he fell in with Khosru, who, after a short exile at the court of 
Sultan Husain Mirza Baiqara of Herat, had, like Nasir, sought 
to find some profit in the revolt of Badakhshan. With con- 
siderable difficulty, Nasir persuaded Khosru to withdraw, 
and that adventurer finally marched against Qunduz with 
a handful of desperate men. There he met a well-deserved 
fate, being taken and executed by the Uzbegs. Nasir, on 
the other hand, was gladly received by the Badakhshanis, 
and succeeded after some difficulty in making himself prince 
of that region. 

These events took place in the summer of 1505. About 
the same time, Babur determined on another expedition. His 
project was delayed, first by the death of his mother, then by 
an attack of fever, and finally by a great earthquake, which 
did much damage to Kabul. i At last he was free to move ; 
but at the earnest request of Jahangir and Baqi Chaghaniani, 
he marched against Khilat instead of Kandahar, which had been 
his first objective. After some trouble he captured the place, 
but was annoyed to find that neither of the promoters of the 
expedition would consent to garrison and hold an outpost so 
remote. There was nothing to be done but to retire. 

Perhaps in consequence of this, Babur took the earliest 

* Firishta says that Babur's behaviour at this time of public calamity 
endeared him to his new subjects ; but I have not been able to find 
earlier authority for the statement, apart from what Babur's character 
would lead one to expect. 




THE STORMING OF KHILAT. 

{Agra Codex.) 



KABUL 83 

opportunity of ridding himself of Baqi Chaghaniani, whose 
insolence was becoming quite intolerable. That nobleman 
was in the habit of resigning his office periodically, being well 
aware of his power and prestige. Babur surprised him, how- 
ever, by accepting his resignation the next time it was offered. 
The astonished minister thereupon reminded his master of 
a promise that until nine faults had been committed, no action 
should be taken against him. The prince replied, not without 
some enjoyment, we may suppose, by sending a list of eleven 
offences, all undeniably serious. Baqi then saw that the game 
was up, and retired with much ill-gotten wealth in the direction 
of Hindustan. Before he reached that country, however, he 
was overtaken by the consequences of his own misdeeds ; for 
he was murdered by a private enemy, and his goods fell to the 
slayer. 

For the next month or so, Babur's attention was taken up 
by a punitive expedition against the Hazaras, who had done 
a variety of insolent things, and had made the roads unsafe. 
Marching with a light force, he took them by surprise, rushed 
a defile which guarded the approach to their winter camp, and 
put the camp itself to flight. Large numbers of sheep and 
horses were brought off. The expedition, though successful 
in its objects, had for Babur one very unpleasant consequence. 
The exposure to cold and hardship was too much even for his 
iron constitution ; it brought on a severe attack of sciatica, 
which kept him to his bed for forty days. Nor were Babur's 
ills merely those of the body. He was much disturbed at this 
time by the conduct of his brother Jahangir, who, conscious that 
his conduct had not been blameless, suspected his brother, 
quite groundlessly, of plotting his ruin. The worthless young 
man, who was already a confirmed drunkard, suddenly resolved 
to quit Babur and seek his fortune elsewhere. He marched 
quickly to Ghazni, plundering and murdering as he went, and 
then drew off through the Hazara country to the Mongol clans 
in Yai and the summer-pastures thereabouts. This step gave 
Babur much cause for anxiety. He knew well how eagerly 
his enemies would receive Jahangir and make use of him as a 



Si AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

pawn in the game of politics. But while the prince was medi- 
tating how best to circumvent this new move on his brother's 
part, there came the call to action for which he had so long been 
preparing. Sultan Husain Mirza Baiqara, roused at last,i 
summoned the House of Timur to rally under his leadership 
for a joint attack upon the Uzbeg foeman. 

The prince of Kabul was only too eager to obey. " If 
others went on their feet," he says, " it became me to accom- 
pany them, were it upon my head ; if others went against 
Shaibani with sticks, it was my business to go were it only 
with stones." 

Nor was it merely his hatred of Shaibani that urged him. 
Concerted action of this kind, in conjunction with other members 
of the house of Timur, would be the best possible counter to 
Jahangir's intrigues. Once more, however, his hopes were 
doomed to disappointment. Scarcely had Sultan Husain 
started to lead his army out against the Uzbegs, when death 
suddenly overtook him on May 5th, 1506.2 

Babur had already set out to join the Sultan before the 
news of this fatality arrived. But before quitting the country, 
he desired to reduce Jahangir's power of doing mischief. Ac- 
cordingly, with a band of light horsemen, he made a sudden 
raid, caught Jahangir unawares, and so alarmed him that his 
forces melted away like snow. It was just after the prince 
had returned from this expedition that couriers came bringing 
him a mixed budget of news. He learnt with dismay of the 
death of Sultan Husain Mirza Baiqara ; but the bad tidings 
were to some extent offset by the information that Nasir 
Mirza had scored a brilliant success against a strong force of 
Uzbegs which had attempted to invade Badakhshan. Babur 
determined to act in accordance with his original plans, and 
join the Herat forces against Shaibani ; for he had heard that 
Badi-uz-Zaman Mirza and Muzaffar-i-Husain Mirza, who had 

^ Probably by Shaibani's siege and capture of Khwarizm, after a 
gallant defcnoe of ten months. 

" Zu'lhijja 11th, a.h. 911. Babur gives a long account of his glories 
and of the culture of his court, based largely upon the Hahib-ua-Siyar. 



KABUL 85 

been declared joint heirs of Sultan Husain Mirza Baiqara, were 
eager to re-embark upon the campaign which had been broken 
off by their father's death. By this time, they had marched out 
of Herat, and were now at Murghab. Here, on October 26th, 
1506, Babur joined them, after Jahangir had at last been 
persuaded to give in his submission and receive his brother's 
ready forgiveness. 

There was a great contrast between Babur and his cousins, 
the joint rulers of Herat. Babur himself, though but twenty- 
four years old, was a tried warrior, and a monarch of much 
experience. The two Mirzas, somewhat older than himself, 
were extremely cultured and charming people, but they 
possessed little notion of ruling a kingdom, and none at 
all of conducting a campaign. At first, perhaps from sheer 
indolence, they seemed inclined to treat Babur a little cava- 
lierly ; but after one vigorous protest on his part, they gave 
him no further grounds of complaint. He was entertained 
magnificently, and everyone made much of him. But he 
chafed against the enforced idleness, for, as he bitterly remarks, 
while the Mirzas were feasting, Balkh was being reduced by 
Shaibani. Perhaps the Mirzas, on their part, were a little 
jealous of their warrior cousin : despite their own apathy, 
they declined to allow him to beat off a party of Uzbeg raiders 
which had appeared insultingly close to the camp ; and as 
winter was drawing on, they pressed him to accompany them 
back to their capital Herat in terms which made refusal im- 
possible. Despite the fact that he feared the political effect 
of a prolonged absence from Kabul, Babur allowed himself to 
be persuaded into visiting Herat. Here he spent a very 
pleasant holiday of twenty days, going out to dinner every 
night, seeing all the sights — which he catalogues with a con- 
scientious thoroughness which might arouse the emulation of 
the modern American tourist — and falling desperately in love 
with his cousin Ma'suma-Sultan. 

But he soon awakened once more to the sterner things of 
life. Anxiety as to Kabul was beginning to oppress him, and 
his desire to regain his own country was quickened both by the 



86 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

knowledge that his ease-loving cousins were not likely to be 
of much service against the Uzbegs, and by the realisation 
that, despite their lavish offers of hospitality, they had assigned 
him no proper winter quarters. Accordingly he started on the 
perilous journey across the mountains to Kabul. The diffi- 
culties and hardships through which he passed were terrible, 
and he had a narrow escape from perishing altogether from cold 
and exposure. His own account is sufficiently spirited to be 
worth reproducing in full in Mrs. Beveridge's admirable 
rendering. 

" From the Langar of Mir Ghiyas we had ourselves guided past 
the border-villages of Gharjistan to Chach-charan. From the 
almshouse to Gharjistan was an unbroken sheet of snow ; it was 
deeper further on ; near Chach-charan itself it was above the horses' 
knees. Chach-charan depended on Zu'n-nun Arghun ; his retainer 
Mir Jan-airdi was in it now ; from him we took, on payment, the 
whole of Zu'n-nim Beg's store of provisions. A march or two 
further on, the snow was very deep, being above the stirrup, indeed 
in many places the horses' feet did not touch the ground. 

" We had consulted at the Langar of Mir Ghiyas which road to 
take for return to Kabul ; most of us agreed in saying, ' It is winter, 
the mountain-road is difficult and dangerous ; the Qandahar road, 
though a little longer, is safe and easy.' Qasim Beg said, ' That 
road is long ; you will go by this one.' As he made much dispute, 
we took the mountain-road. 

" Our guide was a Pashai named Pir Sultan (Old Sultan ?). Whether 
it was through old age, whether from want of heart, whether because 
of the deep snow, he lost the road and could not guide us. As we 
were on this route under the insistence of Qasim Beg, he and his 
sons, for his name's sake, dismounted, trampled the snow down, 
foimd the road again and took the lead. One day the snow was so 
deep and the way so uncertain that we could not go on ; there 
being no help for it, back we turned, dismounted where there was 
fuel, picked out 60 or 70 good men and sent them down the valley 
in our tracks to fetch anyone soever of the Hazara, wintering in the 
valley-bottom, who might show us the road. That place could not 
be left till our men returned three or four days later. They brought 
no guide. Once more we sent Sultan Pashai ahead, and, putting our 
trust in God, again took the road by which wc had come back from 



KABUL 87 

where it was lost Much misery and hardship were endured in those 
few days, more than at any time of my life. In that stress I com- 
posed the following opening couplet : — 

* Is there one cruel turn of Fortune's wheel unseen of me ? 
Is there a pang, a grief my wounded heart has missed ? ' 

" We went on for nearly a week, trampling down the snow and 
not getting forward more than two or three miles a day. I was 
one of the snow- stampers, with 10 or 15 of my household, Qasim 
Beg, his sons Tingri-birdi and Qambar-i-'ali, and two or three of their 
retainers. These mentioned used to go forward for 7 or 8 yards, 
stamping the snow down, and at each step sinking to the waist or 
the breast. After a few steps the leading man would stand still, 
exhausted by the labour, and another would go forward. By the 
time 10, 15, 20 men on foot had stamped the snow down, it became 
so that a horse might be led over it. A horse would be led, would 
sink to the stirrups, could do no more than 10 or 12 steps, and would 
be drawn aside to let another go on. After we, 10, 15, 20, men had 
stamped down the snow and had led horses forward in this fashion, 
very serviceable braves and men of renowned name would enter the 
beaten track, hanging their heads. It was not a time to urge or 
compel ! the man with will and hardihood for such tasks does them 
by his own request ! Stamping the snow down in this way, we got 
out of that afflicting place in three or four days to a cave known as 
the Khawal-i-quti (Blessed cave), below the Zirrin-pass. 

That night the snow fell in such an amazing blizzard of cutting 
wind that every man feared for his life. The storm had become 
extremely violent by the time we reached the khawal, as people in 
those parts call a mountain-cave or hollow. We dismounted at its 
mouth. Deep snow ! a one-man road ! and even on that stamped- 
down and trampled road, pitfalls for horses ! The days at their 
shortest ! The first arrivals reached the cave by daylight ; others 
kept coming in from the Evening Prayer till the Bed-time one ; later 
than that people dismounted wherever they happened to be ; dawn 
shot with many still in the saddle. 

*'The cave seeming to be rather small, I took a shovel and shovelled 
out a place near its mouth, the size of a sitting-mat, digging it out 
breast-high, but even then not reaching the ground. This made me 
a little shelter from the wind when I sat right down in it. I did not 
go into the cave, though people kept saying ' Come inside,' because 
this was in my mind, ' Some of my men in snow and storm, I in the 



88 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

comfort of a warm house ! the whole horde outside in misery and 
pain, I inside sleeping at ease ! That would be far from a man's 
act, quite another matter than comradeship ! Whatever hardship 
and wretchedness there is, I will face ; what strong men stand, I 
will stand ; for, as the Persian proverb says, to die with friends is 
a nuptial. Till the Bed-time Prayer I sat through that blizzard 
of snow and wind in the dug-out, the snowfall being such that my 
head, back, and ears were overlaid four hands thick. The cold of 
that night affected my ears. At the Bed-time Prayer some one, 
looking more carefully at the cave, shouted out, ' It is a very roomy 
cave, with place for everybody.' On hearing this I shook off my 
roofing of snow and, asking the braves near to come also, went inside. 
There was room for 50 or 60 ! People brought out their rations, 
cold meat, parched grain, whatever they had. From such cold and 
tumult to a place so warm, cosy and quiet ! 

" Next day the snow and wind having ceased, we made an early 
start and we got to the pass by again stamping down a road in the 
snow. The proper road seems to make a detour up the flank of the 
moimtain, and to go over higher up, by what is understood to be 
called the Zirrin-pass. Instead of taking that road, we went straight 
up the valley-bottom (qui). It was night before we reached the 
further side of the (Bakkak-) pass ; we spent the night there in the 
mouth of the valley, a night of mighty cold, got through with great 
distress and suffering. Many a man had his hands and feet frost- 
bitten ; that night's cold took both Kipa's feet, both Siunduk 
Turkman's hands, both Ahi's feet. Early next morning we moved 
down the valley ; putting our trust in God, we went straight down, 
by bad slopes and sudden falls, knowing and seeing it could not be 
the right way. It was the Evening Prayer when we got out of that 
valley. No long-memoried old man knew that any one had been 
heard of as crossing that pass with the snow so deep, or indeed 
that it had ever entered the heart of man to cross it at that time of 
year. Though for a few days we had suffered greatly through the 
depth of the snow, yet its depth, in the end, enabled us to reach our 
destination. For why ? How otherwise should we have traversed 
those pathless slopes and sudden falls ? 

* All ill, all good in the count, is gain if looked at aright ! ' 

" The Yaka-aulang people at once heard of our arrival and our 
dismounting ; followed, warm houses, fat sheep, grass and horse- 
corn, water without stint, ample wood and dried dung for fires ! 



KABUL 89 

To escape from such snow and cold to such a village, to such warm 
dwellings, was comfort those will understand who have had our 
trials, relief known to those who have felt our hardships. We 
tarried one day in Yaka-aulang, happy of heart and easy of mind ; 
marched 2 yighach (10-12 m.) next day and dismounted. The day 
following was the Ramzan Feast ; we went on through Bamian, 
crossed by Shibr-tu and dismounted before reaching Janglik.^ " 

After resting and refreshing his troops, Babur determined 
to attack the winter camp of the troublesome Turkman 
Hazaras, who, unaware of his presence, were lying across his 
road. He made a sudden rush upon them., scattered them, 
took several captives, and drove off large numbers of horses 
and sheep. 

About the time when he was engaged in the exploit, 
Babur received news from Kabul which made him glad that 
he had pressed on despite the difficulties of the weather. It 
seemed that Muhammad Husain Mirza Dughlat, who had 
sought refuge with Babur from the Uzbeg storm, had taken 
advantage of his host's absence to stir up rebellion in a most 
ungrateful manner. Sedulously spreading a report that Babur 
had been kidnapped by the two Mirzas of Herat, he won over 
the Mongol troops in Kabul to support him in the design of 
setting up Wais Khan, the youngest son of Sultan Mahmud 
Mirza, as Padshah. The town was in the hands of the insur- 
gents, but the citadel, under the command of the trusty MuUa 
Baba of Pashaghar, held out for Babur. 

That prince acted with his usual energy. Arranging with 
the loyal garrison that a sortie should be made when his men 
lighted a fire on the top of a neighbouring hill, he pressed 
forward to the attack. After a sharp but confused skirmish 
the rebels were completely dispersed, and Babur was once 
more master. The chief culprits were all kinsmen of his own, 
and though he acted with his usual clemency, he was bitterly 
disappointed at their treachery. 

When this trouble was settled, Babur resumed his usual 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 308-311. 



90 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

occupation of heading punitive expeditions against the rebel- 
lious tribes whose misdeeds disturbed his kingdom. About this 
same time his position was considerably strengthened by the 
misfortunes which overtook his two brothers, always possible 
rivals and pawns in the hands of his enemies. The elder. 
Jahangir, died suddenly from the effects of drink, while the 
younger, Nasir, was expelled from his new kingdom of Badakh- 
shan as a result of his own foolishness, and came back, humbled 
and repentant, to seek service and forgiveness. 

Meanwhile, in Khorasan, events were moving quickly, 
Shaibani, realising the calibre of his opponents, determined to 
make a direct attack upon the country — a thing he would 
never have dared to do in the time of Sultan Husain Mirza 
Baiqara. At the court of Herat, confusion reigned supreme. 
The two brothers, though better friends than might have been 
expected, were just sufficiently jealous of one another to make 
effective co-operation very difficult. They were lying with 
their army in their summer retreat of Baba Khaki, not having 
decided either to engage the enemy, or to defend Herat. The 
strongest, though unfortunately not the wisest, man about them 
was Zu-n-nun Arghun, the lord of Qandahar. So jealous was 
he of his authority that when a knowledgeable man proposed 
a sound scheme of campaign, namely, to put a garrison in 
Herat, and retire to the hills with a powerful covering force, 
Zu-n-nun, putting his trust in silly prophecies, i undertook 
to beat the invaders by himself. He took no precautions, he 
issued no orders ; and when Shaibani with forty or fifty thousand 
Uzbeg veterans advanced against Herat, Zu-n-nun was so foolish 
as to oppose him with some hundred and fifty followers. He 
was, of course, swept off the field, captured, and executed. 
The Mirzas ran away like arrant cowards, leaving their women, 
children and goods to the pleasure of the invaders. The whole 
of the Khorasan country fell into Shaibani's hands, practically 
without resistance. The victory of the Uzbeg chief was 

^ He was told that the stars were holding oommerce with certain 
soothsayers, who announced that he was to be entitled ' Lion of God/ 
and was to overcome the Uzbegs. 



KABUL 91 

complete ; his power was at its height. He had crushed the 
Timurids, and had seated himself upon the thrones of all the 
kingdoms they had held save only the throne of Kabul. It 
was perhaps not surprising that he behaved in a somewhat 
arrogant manner. Deeming it incumbent upon himself to 
maintain the reputation for culture enjoyed by the Herat 
court of the late years, he turned his attention from the sword 
to the pen, correcting the handwriting of famous calligraphists 
and the drawing of famous artists, instructing learned divines 
in theology and exegesis : and — crowning offence of all in 
Babur's eyes ! — ^perpetrating a large quantity of very bad 
verse. 

Perhaps Babur may be pardoned for looking at his great 
rivals's literary efforts with a prejudiced eye. The triumph 
of Shaibani was now so complete that the position of the prince 
of Kabul was one of extreme danger. Not merely were his 
hopes of recovering his old kingdom entirely destroyed, at least 
for the moment : in addition, there was good reason to fear 
that his new possessions might be seized by the terrible Uzbeg. 
Being so far the weaker party, Babur had good reason for think- 
ing that his only chance of successful resistance lay in quick 
aggression. Accordingly, when Shah Beg Arghun and Muqim 
Beg Arghun, the heirs of the luckless Zu'n-nun, invited Babur 
to receive the submission of Qandahar and lead a joint expedi- 
tion against the Uzbegs, he did not hesitate to accept the offer. 
After taking counsel with his begs, he got his army to horse, 
and rode for Qandahar. On the way, an accident occurred 
which shows how far Babur's disposition contrasted with that 
of other warriors of his time. 

" In Qalat the army came upon a mass of Hindustan traders, come 
there to traffic, and, as it seemed, unable to go on. The general 
opinion about them was that people who, at a time of such hostilities, 
are coming into an enemy's coimtry must be plundered. With this, 
however, I did not agree ; said I, ' What is the traders' offence ? 
If we, looking to God's pleasure, leave such scrapings of gain aside, 
the Most High Gk>d will apportion our reward. It is now just as it 
was a short time back when we rode out to raid the Ghilji ; many of 



92 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

you then were of one mind to raid the Mahmand Afghans, their 
sheep and goods, their wives and families, just because they were 
within five miles of you ! Then as now I did not agree with you. 
On the very next day the Most High God apportioned you more 
sheep belonging to Afghan enemies, than had ever before fallen to 
the share of the army.' Something by way of peshkash (offering) 
was taken from each trader when we dismounted on the other side 
of Qalat." 1 

While he was marching from Qalat to Qandahar, he was 
joined by two fugitives princes, who desired to experience his 
unvarying kindliness. One was Wais Khan, who had been 
allowed to go to Khorasan after the failure of his attempt to 
usurp Babur's place at Kabul : the other was Abd-ur-razzak 
Mirza, son of the last ruler of that country, by many considered 
the rightful heir. But despite the formidableness of these 
refugees from the political point of view, they were very kindly 
received, and treated with every consideration. 

The Arghuns of Qandahar, as Babur approached, began to 
change their attitude towards him. Probably they had not 
expected such an ample response to their request for alliance ; 
they may have guesssed that they had invoked a spirit too 
powerful for them, and may have decided that it was better to 
serve a distant Shaibani than a Babur close at hand. To 
Babur's requests for an interview that measures might be con- 
certed against the Uzbegs, they returned unfriendly answers, 
addressing their letters in a manner which implied that Babur 
was their inferior. 2 He attempted several times to come to 
some agreement with them, but his overtures being continually 
repulsed, he grew angry at having been enticed upon a fool's 
errand, and decided to attack them. He moved along the skirt 
of Qandahar hill, resting and refreshing his men. Suddenly, 
when about half his little band of 2000 men were scattered 
about the country foraging, the Arghuns, with six or seven 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 331. 

* Shah Beg also had the insolence to put his seal in the middle of 
the reverse side of the letter — a position adopted when a great beg wrote 
to a smaller beg. 



KABUL 93 

thousand men, made a rush upon the camp. Two things saved 
Babur : the excellent discipline of his troops, and the fact that 
his left was protected by a number of tree-tangled canals, 
which the enemy, despite immensely superior numbers, could 
not force. Without any confusion Babur's men fell in under 
their appointed leaders, each leader knowing his exact position 
in van, centre, right or left. By sheer valour the right and the 
centre drove back the forces opposed to them, and then turned 
to the succour of the sorely-pressed band which was holding 
the difficult passages on the left. When the general advance 
was sounded, the enemy broke and fled. So complete was 
their disaster that they had not even time to secure Qandahar 
itself, and the city surrendered to Babur after a short parley. 
A vast mass of treasure fell into the hands of the victors. The 
country was handed over to Nasir Mirza to console him for the 
loss of Badakhshan, and Babur himself with the mass of the 
troops withdrew, laden with plunder. 

The reason which had induced him to retire after his exploit 
may be briefly told. He was afraid of Shaibani. As he well 
knew, Shah Beg and Muqim, on the outbreak of hostilities, 
had thrown themselves into the arms of the Uzbeg leader. 
Shaibani, at their request, came swiftly down on Qandahar 
by the mountain road, hoping to surprise Babur. Failing in 
this design, he laid siege to the town, which he took ; but 
the citadel held out under Nasir Mirza. As matters grew less 
hopeful, Nasir slipped out and retired to Ghazni, leaving a 
few trusty begs with instructions to resist as long as possible. 
Just as the place was on the point of falling, however, Shaibani 
suddenly raised the siege and marched away, for he had heard 
that his haram, which he had left in Nirah-tu, had been 
threatened by the movement of some rebels. 

Despite the failure of Shaibani's expedition, the mere 
presence of the Uzbeg in a place so close as Qandahar was 
seriously alarming to Babur. He prudently resolved to put as 
wide a space as possible between himself and his foeman. In 
September, 1507, after some discussion, it was decided that he 
should march in the direction of Hindustan. The project was 



94 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

abandoned at an early date, because soon afterwards came the 
news that Shaibani had retired. None the less, the fact that the 
expedition was planned at all is significant of the manner 
in which Babur's aims and ambitions were gradually being 
turned, by force of circumstances, from the West to the East. 
We shall see in the next chapter how, from his base at Kabul, 
he succeeds step by step, with some occasional distractions, in 
building up for himself a practicable pathway, by which, when 
the time is ripe, he will advance towards the acquisition of the 
Empire of Hindustan. 



CHAPTER V 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 



Authoritiea. — Babur - nama ; TariJch • % • Rashidi ; Ahsan - us - Siyar ; 
Hdbib-us-Siyar ; Shaibani Nama ; Alim arai Abassi ; Firishta ; Alril 
Faze ; Khufi Khan. 

Modern Works. — Erskine ; Lane Poole. 

It was after the retirement of Shaibani from Qandahar had 
removed all immediate danger, that Babur decided to declare 
himself in name what he had long been in fact, the head of the 
descendants of Timur. " Up to that date," he says, " people 
had styled Timur Beg's descendants Mirza even when they 
were ruling ; now I ordered that people should style me 
Padshah." The assumption of this title is very significant ; 
it was equivalent to claiming supremacy not merely over all 
the Chagatai and Mongol tribesmen who had once owned the 
sway of his paternal and his maternal grandfather, but in 
addition, over all princes of the same stock. Nor can there 
be any doubt that Babur's achievements justified his claim. 
Quite apart from the prominent part he had played in all the 
great events of recent years, he was now stronger than he 
had been for some time. He had defeated the Arghuns abroad ; 
he had put down rebellion at home, and was now firmly estab- 
lished in the vantage-ground of Kabul. 

But he was not long destined to enjoy his new honours in 
peace, for while he was absent on one of his customary expe- 
ditions, a formidable rebellion was hatched in favour of Abd- 
ur-razzak, the son of the last ruler of Kabul. The immediate 
occasion of the outbreak was perhaps the birth of an heir to 
Babur — a child afterwards known to fame as the Emperor 



96 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Humayun. This seemed to deprive the house of Ulugh Beg 
Mirza of all chance of regaining the throne. i It was proposed 
to make Abd-ur-razzak ruler not only of Kabul and Ghazni, but 
also of Badakshan, Qunduz, and the territories formerly held by 
Khosru Shah. As usual the trouble began with the Mongol merce- 
naries. These soldiers of fortune, who had deserted Khosru Shah 
in his hour of need, found that their new master did not come 
up to their expectations. He was too strict : he put down 
plundering with singular severity ; and he looked for implicit 
obedience to orders. When Babur returned in May, 1508, 
he received several warnings that sedition was rife among 
them ; but the actual outbreak seems to have taken him 
unawares. One evening as he sat in the Audience Chamber 
of the Char Bagh, Mirza Khwaja came up, and told him that 
the Mongol troops were unquestionably disaffected, although 
it was not certain that Abd-ur-razzak was an accomplice, or 
that the outbreak would come soon. Babur dismissed the 
matter, feigning to treat it lightly, and went ofi to the haram 
as usual. His first warning of serious trouble was the desertion 
of his pages and men-at-arms. He then realised his danger, 
but was nearly captured before his bodyguard had rallied 
round him. Practically the whole of the Mongol auxiliaries 
must have been tampered with, for in the last resort he found 
himself, with his little band of five hundred devoted followers, 
confronted by more than three thousand rebels. With his 
usual dash, Babur, instead of taking to the hills, determined to 
stake his throne and life upon the issue of a fair fight in the 
open. It was one of his greatest battles, and we should give 
much to possess one of his own vivid descriptions of the actual 
struggle. Unfortunately, just previous to this time, May 
1508, the Memoirs break off for eleven years. But from 
parallel sources, particularly the Tarikh-i-Rashidi and the 
Habih-uS'Siyar, we can get a very fair idea of what took place. 

^ For the events of this rebellion the most important source is the 
Tarikh-i'Rashidi. Good brief connected narratives are found in Firishta 
(ii. 30) and Khwafi Khan. The Habib-us-Siyar is extremely useful, 
and with the Tarikh-i-Rashidi forms the basis of most later accounts. 



SAIVIARKAND ONCE MORE 97 

The action was most desperately contested, but was finally- 
turned against the rebels by the personal prowess of the Pad- 
shah himself. With his own sword he encountered and defeated 
one after the other five champions of the rebels. i This was 
too much for his antagonists, who fled in dismay. He won a 
decisive victory, and his triumph was crowned b)^ the capture 
of the graceless Abd-ur-razzak. In his hour of prosperity Babur 
did not forget his customary kindliness ; the rebel leader was 
generously treated and set at liberty. 2 

For the rest of the year 1508 and for the whole of the year 
1509, we know little of Babur's doings. He seems to have 
occupied himself principally in regulating the internal affairs 
of his little kingdom, and in preparing himself for whatever 
new surprise Fortune might have in store. For the moment, 
there seemed no other outlet for his activities. So far as 
Hindustan was concerned, the time was not ripe ; and so far 
as Samarkand was concerned, Shaibani was still powerful 
as ever. In 1509, indeed, Babur had a most unpleasant 
reminder of the existence of his cruel enemy ; for there came 
to him two desolate fugitives, both cousins of his own, who had 
escaped by a hair's breadth from the death commanded by 
Shaibani. One was a young man of twenty-one, Sultan Sa'id 
Khan Chagatai, son of Sultan Ahmad Khan ; the other was a 
boy of eleven, Haidar Mirza Doghlat, who was afterwards to 
become famous as the author of the Tarikh-i-Rashidi. They 
were received with the kindness and courtesy which were 
becoming almost proverbial. 

" It may be imagined," says Haidar Mirza, " how I enjoyed so 
sudden a transition to comfort, ease, and abundance from a state 
of poverty, misfortune, suffering and hardship, which had rendered 
the soul weary of its confinement within the cage of the body. How 
can I ever show sufficient thankfulness ? May God reward him with 
good things. Thus I passed a long time in the service of the Emperor, 

1 Firishta gives the names as follows : Ali Shab-kur, Ali Sistani, 
Nazar Bahadur Uzbeg, Yaqub Tez-Jang, and Uzbeg Bahadur. Of these 
the first two only are given in the Tarikh-i-Rashidi. 

• Subsequently he rebelled again, and this time he was taken and 
executed. — Firishta, ii. 30. 



98 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

in perfect happiness and freedom from care : and he was for ever, 
either by promises of kindness or by threats of severity, encourag- 
ing me to study. If ever he noticed any little virtue or new acquisi- 
tion, he would praise it in the highest terms, commend it to every- 
body, and invite their approbation. All that time the Emperor 
showed me such affection and kindness as a fond father shows his 
son and heir. It was a hard day for me when 1 lost my father, but 
the bitterness of my desolation became scarcely perceptible, owing 
to the blessed favours of the Emperor." ^ 

But Babur was soon to find occupation of a more exciting 
nature than succouring the distressed. Towards the end of 
1509 there came to Kabul news that must have roused him 
like a trumpet call. Shaibani, the arrogant, the faithless, the 
cruel, had in the height of his power gone one step too far, 
and had aroused the enmity of the terrible Shah Ismael Safawi, 
monarch of a rejuvenated Persian empire and champion of the 
Shia sect. 2 The story of the quarrel between the two men is 
among the most famous tales of Eastern history. Some of 
Shaibani's troops had plundered the borders of Shah Ismael's 
dominions. To the envoys sent to demand redress, Shaibani 
returned an insulting answer, despatching moreover to Ismael 
a beggar's dish, in allusion to the sanctified poverty which had 
always marked the family from which the Shah claimed descent. 
Ismael received the taunts of the Uzbeg leader with feigned 
humility, saying that he proposed to make a pilgrimage to the 
shrine of the holy Imam Reza, and that he hoped to take the 
opportunity of waiting upon the Khan. In return for his 
present, he sent him a spindle and a distaff, with the message : 
*' Lo, I have tightened my girdle for a deadly contest, and have 
placed the foot of determination in the stirrup of victory. 
If thou wilt meet me like a man, face to face in battle, our 

1 Tarikh-i'Rashidi, Elias and Ross' translation. Despite Haidar 
Mirza's gratitude to Babur, he cannot condone the subsequent relations 
with Shah Ismael, the account of which is marked by considerable 
injustice to his benefactor. 

' For the struggle between the two men see the Habib-us-Siyar, the 
Alim arai Abassi (f. 296-33a), the Ahaan-ua-Siyar^ and the Tarikh-i- 
Bashidi. Cf. Erskine, i. 298-300. 



100 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

quarrel will at once be decided. But if thou woidd'st rather 
slink into a corner, then thou mayest find what I have sent 
thee of some use." 

Shah Ismael was as good as his word. He set his armies 
in motion, took his foe by surprise, and drove Shaibani into 
Merv, a city in the north of Khorasan. He defeated a cover- 
ing force, and then laid siege to the town. But finding that the 
Uzbeg garrison, headed by Shaibani were making a spirited 
resistance, he resolved on a ruse. He wrote that he regretted 
being unable to await Shaibani's convenience at present, as 
circumstances necessitated his withdrawal ; but that he hoped 
to be fortunate enough to meet him on a subsequent occasion. 
He then marched off, as though in full retreat. Shaibani rushed 
out of Merv in hot pursuit, was drawn ten or twelve miles away 
from safety by a series of minor successes carefully arranged 
for him, and suddenly found himself between a river and the 
whole Persian army. The bridge behind him had been seized 
by a body of troops in ambush, and the Uzbeg was attacked 
in front by 17,000 of the famous veteran cavalry of Shah 
Ismael. To a contest under these conditions there could be 
but one issue. After a desperate resistance Shaibani's force 
was defeated ; he and his entire following were driven into a 
sami, where they were surrounded. They perished to a man. 
This was at the beginning of December, 1510.^ 

The news of the termination of the duel between Ismael and 
Shaibani, and of the final destruction of his dreaded rival, 
reached Babur before the end of the month. It was com- 
municated to him by his cousin Wais Khan, who had been 
for some time established in Badakhshan.2 At fii*st, tidings 
were uncertain. " It is not known," wrote Wais Mirza, 

* There is a good account of the battle in the Alim arai Abassi, f. 31a. 

' After the expulsion of Nasir Mirza, Wais Mirza was persuaded to 
try his fortune in Badakhshan, urged thereto by his mother, Shah Begam. 
Ho found the country in great confusion, divided into three principalities, 
each under a few powerful and many petty chiefs. After many mis- 
fortunes, in the course of which ho had lived, and his mother had died, 
in prison, ho succeeded in asserting his claim, and in being recognised 
as king of the country. He seems to have died in a.h. 926 (a.d. 1520) 
when Badakhshan fell into the hands of Babur. — Tarikh-i-Ea/hidi. 



SAMARKAND ONCE M'OJfcE 161 

" whether Shahi Beg Kian has been killed or not. All the 
Uzbegs have crossed the Amu — about 20,000 Mongols, who 
left the Uzbeg at Merv, have come to Qunduz. I have come 
there also." He then invited Babur to join him in an attempt 
to recover their ancestral dominions. ^ 

Babur needed no spur. Directly he received the news, he 
put Nasir Mirza in charge of Kabul, crossed the mountains, 
taking with him his two little sons, Humayun and Kamran, 
winter though it was, and reached Qunduz and the Mirza in 
January, 1511. Here he found the Mongol troops already 
mentioned, who, being in overwhelming force, 20,000 to 5000 
of Babur's men, appear to have contemplated deposing him, 
and putting his guest Sultan Sa'id in his place. But Sultan 
Sa'id refused to take any part in injuring his benefactor. 

" During the period of the hurricane of Shahi Beg Khan's con- 
quests, when the buffetings of the waves of calamity and contention 
dashed in pieces the ships of the life and prosperity of the Mongol 
Khakhans, I saved myself upon the plank of concealment and arrived 
at length at the island of Kabul, which Babur Padshah had contrived 
to save from the violent shocks of the billows of events, and where 
he then was. On this island the Emperor protected me with the 
utmost benevolence. Now that I have attained the shore of pros- 
perity, how ungrateful would it be for me to perform so ignoble 
an act." 2 

At his own request he and his too-zealous adherents were 
dispatched to Andijan, where Mirza Haidar's uncle was busy 
driving out the Uzbegs, and was calling for assistance. 

For his part, Babur advanced on Hisar, and passed the 
river Amu, but found that the Uzbegs of that quarter, despite 
their defeats, were still too strong for him. He therefore 
returned to Qunduz without fighting, on the look-out for allies. 
The opportunity for which he was seeking soon arrived. While 
he was in Qunduz there suddenly came a body of Shah Ismael's 
troops, honourably escorting Babur's elder sister Khanzada, 
who, after the death in battle of her successive husbands, 

1 Tarikh-i'Baahidi. 2 Ibid. 



102 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Shaibani and Saiyid Hadi, had fallen into the hands of the 
Persians. There came also at the same time an embassy from 
Shah Ismael, offering his friendship. Here at last were the 
allies for whom Babur had been looking. He promptly de- 
spatched Wais Mirza with thanks and gifts — gifts which the 
Persian court historians, Khwandamir, Mirza Barkhwardar 
Turkman, and Mirza Sikandar, regard in the light of the tribute 
rendered from a political inferior to his suzerain.^ 

Ismael received the embassy kindly, and agreed to furnish 
the required assistance — at a price.^ The price was somewhat 
heavy. Babur was to substitute the Shah's name for his own 
in the Khutba, was to stamp it on his coinage, and — ^most 
onerous of all — was to encourage the spread of Shia doctrines, 
throughout any conquests he made in the rigidly Sunni 
dominion of Samarkand. As we shall see, this last stipulation 
was to be the rock on which Babur's fortunes were to suffer 
shipwreck. Hard as they were, the terms were evidently 
accepted by Wais Mirza on behalf of his principal ; for a small 
reinforcement was at once given to him, and a large body of 
Ismael's troops, under the leadership of Ahmad Beg Safawi, 
Ali Khan Istilju, and Shahrukh Sultan 3 Afshar were ordered 
to hold themselves in readiness to support Babur so soon as 
the agreement should have been ratified. 

Meanwhile, that prince had been getting to work on his own 
behalf. He moved once more against Hisar, and encamped 

1 Despite the emphatically contradictory views expressed by Indian 
historians like Abu'l Fazl, Firishta, and Khufi Khan, there is nothing in 
this that need cause surprise. There was no reason why Ismael should 
help Babur. No tie of kinship bound them : the one was a mighty 
emperor, the other still a petty prince. But if Babur should admit the 
supremacy of the Persian king, the situation would at once be altered. 
Ismael would be bound in honour to assist his vassal. The story of the 
Persian court historians seems in its main facts eminently reasonable ; 
and the unfortunate ending of the alliance would account fully for Babur's 
silence in the matter. 

2 The Persian historians make this very clear. The Indian historians, 
and even the Tarikh-i-Eaahidi, slur it over as much as possible. The 
Tarihh-i-Rashidi is here so much biassed as to be unreliable. 

' The Habib'US'Siyar and the Ahaan-us-Siyar agree in calling him 
Shahrukh Beg. 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 103 

on the side of the Surkh-ab, in the vicinity of Wakhsh,i 
where he was watched by a powerful Uzbeg force across the 
river. He lay there for a month awaiting reinforcements, 
and was then joined by Wais Mirza who had hurried up with 
a small body of Persian troops. Evidently the conclusion of 
his alliance with Ismael became known to the Uzbegs very 
shortly, for they decided to attack him before the arrival of 
the main body of Persian auxiliaries despatched to his assist- 
ance. Accordingly, the Uzbegs one morning swam the river 
and fell upon Babur, who promptly retired to a stronger 
position near Abdara. They vigorously attacked his left, 
which was posted on a hill, but after a brief success, failed to 
make any impression.2 They then turned to retrace their 
steps, for the absence of water made camping out of the question ; 
but, as so often happens with Eastern armies, the retreat 
became, under pursuit, a disorderly rout. The entire force 
broke up : the principal begs were captured, and executed out 
of hand by Babur, who then advanced in the direction of Hisar. 
The Padshah now bethought himself of his new ally and 
overlord, Shah Ismael. Promptly ratifying the proposed 
agreement, he asked for speedy and effective support, express- 
ing a hope that the whole of Transoxiana would quickly be 
reduced, and promising not only to stamp on his coins the 
images of the Twelve Imams, but even to adopt the Shia dress 
himself. Ismael in return despatched the powerful force 
which had been prepared for the purpose, and seems to have 
agreed that Babur should issue coins as usual in his own name 
throughout his " hereditary dominions " ^ — ^that is, apparently, 
Farghana and Kabul. This implies that Babur was to be 
Shah Ismael's vassal only for such territories as might be 
recaptured from the Uzbegs at present in occupation of them. 

1 Ahsan-us-Siyar. 

* Haidar Mirza gives a lively account of the battle of Abdara, which 
he witnessed. He is very proud of the fact that when Babur's left, 
under Wais Mirza, was driven back by the Uzbegs who mounted the left- 
hand hill, the balance was restored by a contingent of his own troops 
under Jan Ahmad Ataka. — Tarikh-i-Eashidi. 

3 Habib-us-8iyar and Ahsan-us-Siyar. 



104 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

With his powerful body of allies and auxiliaries, Babur 
pressed straight on to Bokhara, sweeping the Uzbegs before 
him as he advanced. But his name was worth more than many 
legions to him. The people of town and countryside alike 
welcomed him with the greatest enthusiasm. Bokhara readily 
submitted, and Babur felt himself strong enough to dismiss 
the Persian auxiliaries with thanks and presents. They must 
have been uncomfortable allies, rabid Shias as they were, in 
that land of uncompromising Sunnis : moreover they served 
as a perpetual reminder of his vassalage to Shah Ismael. He 
would not mar the glories of his long-desired " joyous entry " 
into Samarkand by their presence. But though they went, 
they left behind their master's representative, Muhammad 
Jan, as Babur was shortly to realise to his cost. For the 
moment, however, no cloud marred the sky. Nor in the hour 
of his triumph did Babur forget the claims of his cousin Wais 
Mirza, who was confirmed in the sovereignty of Hisar Shad- 
man, Khutlan and Badakhshan. 

From Bokhara Babur went straight to the city of Timur, 
the scene of so many of his triumphs and despairs. It was in 
October, 1511, that he re-entered Samarkand, after an absence 
of nine years. The rejoicings of the populace were heartfelt. 
As Mirza Haidar says : 

" All the inhabitants of the towns of Mavara-un-Nahr, high and 
low, nobles and poor men, grandees and artisans, princes and 
peasants, alike testified their joy at the advent of the Emperor. He 
was received by the nobles, while the other classes were busy with 
the decoration of the town, the streets and bazaars were draped with 
cloth and gold brocades, and drawings and pictures were hung up 
on every side. The Emperor entered the city in the middle of the 
month of Rajab in the year 917, in the mid?t of such pomp and 
splendour as no one has ever seen or heard of, before or since. The 
angels cried aloud, ' Enter with peace,' and the people exclaimed, 
* Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe.' The people of Mavara-un- 
Nahr, especially the inhabitants of Samarkand, had for years been 
longing for him to come, that the shadow of his protection might be 
cast upon them." 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 105 

None the less, the elements of disaster were already 
present. Mirza Haidar goes on : 

" Although in the hour of necessity, the Emperor had clothed 
himself in the garments of the Shias, which was pure heresy, nay, 
almost unbelief, the people hoped that when he mounted the throne 
of Samarkand, and placed on his head the diadem of the holy Sunna 
of Muhammad, that he would remove from it the insignia of the Shah. 
But the hopes of the people of Samarkand were not realised. For 
as yet the Emperor did not feel able to dispense with the aid ot 
Shah Ismael, nor did he feel himself sufficiently strong to cope single- 
handed with the Uzbeg : hence he appeared to overlook the gross 
errors of the Shias. On this account the people of Mavara-un-Nahr 
ceased to feel that intense longing for the Emperor which they had 
entertained while he was absent — ^their regard for him was at an end." i 

Mirza Haidar has laid his finger on the weak point of Babur's 
position in Samarkand. The Padshah, indeed, was placed in 
a most difficult situation. The Uzbegs were still strong, and 
his only hope of holding his ground, to say nothing of making 
head against them, lay in a close alliance either with his own 
Samarkand folk or with Shah Ismael and his Persians. But 
there were insuperable difficulties in the way of adopting 
either course. Babur was a man of his word : he was pledged 
to the Shah, and, what was much more serious, to the support 
of the Shah's religion. But he could not bring himself to 
incur the hatred of his own people by acting as a submissive 
instrument of Ismael's proselytising zeal. To assume the dress 
of the Shias and to stamp his coins with Shia emblems was 
bad enough ; 2 he refused to persecute, and persecution was the 
only course which could have won him real favour in the eyes 
of his overlord, whose barbarous treatment of pious and learned 
members of the opposing sect was horrifying the Sunni world. 
Had he been willing to throw over his alliance, all might perhaps 
have been well. It was not, we may believe, any considera- 
tions of danger which prevented him from doing so ; it was the 
fact that he had pledged his word. None the less, though he 

^ Tarikh-i-Rashidi, Elias and Ross' translation. 

^ See R. S. Poole, Catalogue of Persian Coins, 1887, pp. xxiv seg. 



106 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

was bound to Shah Ismael, he showed a not unnatural resent- 
ment at the humiliating position in which he was placed. In 
consequence, like James II. of England in a later age, Babur 
was compelled to bear all the odium of alliance with an un- 
popular power, while his pride debarred him from accepting 
the accompanying benefits. So while he became steadily less 
welcome to the Samarkandis through his relations with Persia, 
he offended the Shah by treating the Persian envoy, Muhammad 
Jan, with an independence and freedom which the affronted 
nobleman magnified into a series of studied insults. A report 
was transmitted to the Persian court that the new monarch 
of Samarkand was arrogant, faithless, and a harbourer of 
seditious designs against his overlord. Shah Ismael, in high 
dudgeon, despatched his famous commander, Mir Najm Sani,i 
to reduce the offender to obedience. 

But before the Persian punitive force of 11,000 men got 
within striking distance, a change came over the aspect of 
affairs. The Uzbeg chiefs, particularly 'UbaiduUah Khan, 
encouraged by the withdrawal of the Persian troops and the 
growing coolness between Babur and the Samarkandis on the 
one hand, and Babur and the Shah on the other, determined 
to renew their attacks. They gathered a powerful force, and 
suddenly sent on a flying squadron in the direction of Bokhara. 
Babur, abandoned by all but his small following of faithful 
companions, in his desperation determined to attack the foe. 2 

^ For the state maintained by this man, his lavish expenditure, his 
gorgeous household, see the Habib-us-Siyar and the Ahsan-us-Siyar. It 
was said that every day 13 kettles of pure silver were destroyed in pre- 
paring food for his household. The following story comes from the 
Ahsan-its-Siyar : — 

" It came to my hearing from an honest friend of mine that when, 
on the other side of the Ab, a man asked Mir Najm's confectioner how he 
got so much spicery every day in a hostile country, the officer replied, 
' By God's favour I have goats, fowls, sugar candy, sugar, rice, and cook- 
ing implements in large quantities, but as I need every day 10 mans of 
cinnamon, saffron, ginger, cummin, fennel, coriander and other spices, 
I am sometimes hard pressed to get them.' " 

* There is no doubt that Haidar Mirza is led astray by his religious 
zeal when he makes Babur superior in numbers to the Uzbegs. Both 
the Habib-v^-Siyar and the Ahsan-us-Siyar are emphatic upon the 
point. 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 107 

In this he acted contrary to the advice of Muhammad Farid 
Tarkhan, who counselled delay. But the prince was too im- 
patient to wait, and believed that theUzbegs were in small force. 
He marched out in the direction of Bokhara. But when he 
arrived at Kul Malik in the neighbourhood of that city, he found 
that the advance party of the Uzbegs had been reinforced by a 
strong detachment under Muhammad Timur Sultan, Jani Beg, 
and 'UbaiduUah Khan. He was thoroughly trapped, but de- 
termined to take his chance. We have no satisfactory account 
of the fight of Kul Malik, ^ but it is clear that Babur displayed 
his usual valour, and from the fact that he was able to retire 
into Bokhara, and afterwards to make good his retreat un- 
molested, it may be gathered that the actual struggle, 
despite his inferiority in numbers, was not unequally contested. 
But he was compelled to fall back by rapid stages. Not merely 
Bokhara, but Samarkand itself slipped from his grasp, so that 
he collected his dependants and retired to Hisar. Here he 
fortified himself strongly, ordering a ditch to be dug round 
the town, and dividing the streets into quarters, over each of 
which a careful watch was set. He received a small reinforce- 
ment from Bahram Beg, who sent Amir Sultan Muhammad 
Shirazi with 300 men. 

The Uzbegs did not attack him, but contented themselves 
with reoccupying Samarkand. 

Accordingly, when Najm Sani reached the frontier of 
Khorasan, he was surprised to find that the rebellious prince 
whom he had come to chastise was now a fugitive. The 
Uzbegs were as much the enemies of Shah Ismael as of Babur, 
so that the punitive expeditionary force had to be converted 
into an army of support. 2 When the allies had effected their 
junction, they advanced towards Bokhara, and captured 

1 Hahib-us-Siyar ; A hsan-us-Siyar, Abu'I Fazl says that Babur 
won Kul-Malik, but had to retreat owing to " the unpropitious influence 
of the planets." 

' Mir Najm, with typical arrogance, declined to wait for a confirma- 
tion of his orders from headquarters. He rashly pushed ahead without 
even reinforcements, " counting this dangerous and highly troublesome 
enterprise an easy and ordinary affair." — Ahaan-us-Siyar. ' 



108 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Khizar. To Babur's grief and indignation, the Persian army 
inflicted severe penalties upon the unfortunate inhabitants of 
the regions through which they passed. Qarshi being breached 
and stormed they were not content with putting to the sword 
the Uzbeg garrison : they proceeded to a general massacre of 
the population. Babur, practically a prisoner in Persian 
hands, was an unwilling spectator of the tragedy. Najm Sani 
then advanced another stage towards Bokhara, but was brought 
to a halt by the desperate resistance of the garrison of the little 
town of Ghaj-davan. Against the advice of Khwaja Kasnal- 
ud-din Muhammad, who was experienced in Uzbeg warfare, 
Najm determined to press the siege, and this despite the fact 
that the garrison was thoroughly provisioned while his own army 
was running short of supplies. When, after some considerable 
period, perhaps as much as four months, Babur gave counsel 
to the same effect, the Persian general appeared convinced ; 
but the very next day, before a move could be made, the Uzbeg 
army appeared in great strength. 'UbaiduUah Khan had 
marched out from Bokhara to the assistance of his besieged 
garrison. There was nothing for it but to risk a battle, 
although the Persian army was entangled in the suburbs of 
the town. Najm, whose arrogance had made him hated, was 
not properly supported by his amirs. The Persian army was 
thrown into confusion, and the general killed. With great 
difficulty Babur, in command of the rearguard, made good his 
retreat. 1 

Persian historians 2 persist in ascribing the defeat of their 
forces to treachery on the part of Babur. It is generally 
admitted that he took no part in the battle ; but on the one 
hand, he was stationed with the reserve, and on the other, 
he was practically a prisoner in the hands of the Persian forces. 
Therefore it is no matter for wonder if he should have preferred 
the victory of the Uzbegs, whom he respected as foes, to the 

* Ahsan-us-Siyar ; Habib-us-Siyar. 

* Alim arai Ahassi hints as much ; and when Humayun took refuge 
in Persia, the taunt of his father's treachery was openly thrown in his 
teeth. (Badauni, MuiUakhab-ut-Tawarikh, Bibl. Ind. f. 444.) 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 109 

success of the Persians, whom he detested as friends. Legend 
has it that on the night before the battle he shot an arrow into 
the Uzbeg camp bearing the following couplet : — 

"I made the Shah's fortune [Najm] road- stuff for the Uzbegs, 
If fault has been mine, I have now cleansed the road." ^ 

There is, however, no reason to accuse Babur of anything 
worse than passivity. Apart from his strong sense of honour, 
the weakness of his position prevented him from doing anything 
to bring about the downfall of the Persian host. 

After this battle, which took place in November^ 1512, 
Babur retired once more to Hisar. Here he was very nearly 
assassinated in a conspiracy of some Mongol troops in his 
employ whom he had outspokenly accused of misconduct. 
He barely escaped with his life in the darkness of the night. 
This determined him to withdraw from Hisar into Qunduz, 
where he joined Wais Mirza. 

During the whole of 1513 we know little of his movements. 
Mirza Haidar says that he remained most of the time in Qunduz, 
exposed to the greatest privation and misery. He bore all his 
distresses with his customary patience, but at last, despairing 
of his chances of recovering Hisar, he determined to withdraw 
to Kabul.2 

So ended Babur's last attempt to recover Samarkand, the 
city of his ancestor, Timur. The long series of disasters which 
had overtaken him since he left Kabul in 1510 had not in any 
way diminished his cheerfulness or dulled the edge of his am- 
bition. But the strain of these three terrible years had none 
the less left their mark upon him. Probably it was during 
his troubled occupation of Samarkand that he first sought a 
refuge from his cares in the wine-cup. From henceforward 
he became a hard though not a heavy drinker, taking a 
naive delight in the pleasures of frequent wine parties. And 
drink, though it never clouded his faculties, almost certainly 
shortened his days. 

With his customary wisdom, he reverted to his life as a 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 361. * Tarikh-i-RasMdi. 



110 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

petty prince without complaint. Domestic affairs began to 
assume a greater importance. Two more sons were born to 
him, Askari in 1516 and Hindal in 1519. Moreover, he was 
at peace with members of his own family. Nasir Mirza, with 
rare tact, gave up the government of Kabul cheerfully, warmly 
welcomed his brother, and asked to be allowed to retire to his 
own fief of Ghazni. Here shortly afterwards the younger prince 
died, and on his death a rebellion against Babur broke out 
among the local chiefs into which entered certain nobles, like 
Mir Shiram, who had passed their life in his service. The 
details of it are not known ; Haidar Mirza ascribes it to the 
influence of Satan upon the minds of the ringleaders, which 
is as much as to say that he did not understand what the 
trouble was about. i There was a regular pitched battle, 
which Babur won largely by personal prowess. The Mongol 
troops, who were the principal factors in the disturbance, 
having been dispersed, nearly a year of quiet ensued. During 
the whole of 1516, there seems little to record of Babur's 
activities. There is, however, one topic which deserves 
mention at this point. 

Perhaps it was the recent trouble with the Mongol mer- 
cenaries which directed Babur's attention to the desirability 
of increasing the efiiciency of his army. Certain it is that 
about this time he became the witness of a remarkable military 
reform which was being prosecuted with vigour by his late ally 
the Shah of Persia. This reform, which consisted of nothing 
less than the introduction of firearms and of the tactics which 
firearms rendered possible, was the result of a very unpleasant 
experience which had befallen Shah Ismael in 1514. Hos- 
tilities having broken out between the coiu-ts of Teheran and 
Constantinople, Shah Ismael advanced to the borders of his 
territory to encounter the invading forces of Sultan Salim 
the Grim. The armies, approximately equal in numbers, 
met at Chaldiran. Shah Ismael charged at the head of his 
splendid cavalry, but was dismayed to find his tactics useless 
in face of the new artillery and small arms upon which the 
1 Tarikh-i-Raahidi. 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 111 

Turks relied. The Persian forces were utterly routed, and 
Shah Ismael was lucky to escape with his life. In consequence 
he determined to learn the new method himself, and he imported 
Turkish artillerymen and musketry experts to train his own 
troops. 

Babur then determined on his part to imitate Shah Ismael, 
and some time between 1514 and 1519 he secured the services 
of an Ottoman Turk named Ustad Ali, who became Master 
of his Ordnance. It is unfortunate that we have not the 
Memoirs to guide us : for we may be sure that the arrival of 
Ustad Ali was a red-letter day for Babur. Indeed, it is hardly 
too much to say that this day marked the beginning of Babur's 
immortal fame. If there was one single material factor which, 
more than any other, conduced to his ultimate triumph in 
Hindustan, it was his powerful artillery. Nor is it without 
significance that not until Babur has secured the services of 
Mustafa, a second Turkish expert, who came to him some 
time between 1520 and 1525, is the invasion of India under- 
taken. 

The prince seems now to have made up his mind that if his 
fortune was to be sought anywhere outside Kabul, it must be 
sought in the east rather than in the west. Accordingly in 
1517 we find him renewing his attacks on Qandahar. The 
operations were for the moment interrupted by illness, and 
he retired after receiving gifts from the Arghuns. The next 
year, in 1518, we find him again looking eastward towards the 
road to Hindustan, subduing isolated fortresses like Chaghan- 
sarai on the north-east of Kabul, and taking part in the feuds 
of the Afghan tribes. 

At the beginning of 1519 the Memoirs, which have been 
interrupted for eleven years, are again available, unfortunately 
for a period of only thirteen months. The entries, scrappy and 
brief, are evidently intended to constitute the rough material 
of a more finished account. When they recommence, Babur 
is engaged in the siege of the fortress of Bajaur. This he 
stormed after a spirited struggle, in which the new artillery 
played a part. 



112 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

" (Jan. 7th) At the first dawn of light on Friday the 5th of 
Muharram, orders were given that when the battle-nagarets had 
sounded, the army should advance, each man from his place to his 
appointed post and should swarm up. The left and centre advanced 
from their ground with mantelets in place all along their lines, fixed 
their ladders, and swarmed up them. The whole left hand of the 
centre, under Khalifa, Shah Hasan Arghun and Yusui's Ahmad, 
was ordered to reinforce the left wing. Dost Beg's men went forward 
to the foot of the north-eastern tower of the fort, and busied them- 
selves in undermining and bringing it down. Ustad 'Ali-quli was 
there also ; he shot very well on that day with his matchlock, and he 
twice fired off the firingi. Wali the Treasurer also brought down 
a man with his matchlock. Malik 'Ali-qutni was first up a ladder of 
all the men from the left hand of the centre, and there was busy 
with fight and blow. At the post of the centre, Muhammad 'Ali 
Jang- Jang and his younger brother Nau-roz got up, each by a different 
ladder, and made lance and sword to touch. Baba, the waiting man, 
getting up by another ladder, occupied himself in breaking down 
the fort -wall with his axe. Most of our braves went well forward, 
shooting off dense flights of arrows and not letting the enemy put 
out a head ; others made themselves desperately busy in breaching 
and pulling down the fort, caring naught for the enemy's fight and 
blow, giving no eye to his arrows and stones. By breakfast time 
Dost Beg's men had undermined and breached the north-eastern 
tower, got in and put the foe to flight. The men of the centre got 
in up the ladders by the same time, but those others were first in. 
By the favour and pleasure of the High God, this strong and mighty 
fort was taken in two or three astronomical hours ; matching the 
fort were the utter struggle and effort of our braves ; distinguish 
themselves they did, and won the name and fame of heroes." ^ 

By way of striking terror into the surrounding population, 
the inhabitants were put to general massacre : " The fort 
taken, we entered and inspected it. On the walls, in houses, 
streets and alleys, the dead lay in what numbers ! Comers 
and goers to and fro were passing over the bodies." 2 

This cruelty was not wanton. Babur himself regarded the 
capture of Bajaur as the first step on the road to Hindustan, 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 369-70. « Ibid., 370. 









^^^'ti^^''^:*''^'^"'^¥^'T'^^''l 



THE SIEGE OF BAJAUR. 

{Alwar Codex.) 

" Perhaps 7, 8, or 10 Bajauris had fallen to the matchlock 
fire." — Beveridge, p. 369. 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 



113 



and it was of the utmost importance that the Afghan tribes 
who lay across his path should be taught a lesson of the only- 
kind they could appreciate. Writing in the year of Panipat 
Babur says : — ^ 

" From the year 910, when I obtained the principality of Kabul, 
up to the date of the events I now record {i.e. the defeat of Sultan 
Ibrahim Lodi), I had never ceased to think of the conquest of Hindu- 
stan. But I had never found a suitable opportunity for undertaking 
it, hindered as I was, sometimes by the apprehensions of my Begs> 
sometimes by disagreements between my brothers and myself. 
Finally all these obstacles were happily removed. Great and small, 
Begs and captains, no one dared say a word against the project. So 
in 925 I left at the head of my army, and made a start by taking 
Bajaur. . . . From this time to 932 I was always actively concerned 
in the a£Eairs of Hindustan. I went there in person at the head of 
an army, five times in the course of seven or eight years. ^ The fifth 
time, by the munificence and liberality of God, there fell beneath 
my blows an enemy as formidable as Sultan Ibrahim, and I gained 
the vast empire of Hind." 

1 P. de Courteille, ii. 173-4 ; Ilminski, 348. 

* Concerning these expeditions there is much confusion, and the 
account in the text cannot claim to be more than a via media. All are 
agreed that the campaign against Ibrahim Lodi was the fifth, bub as to 
the other four, authorities differ. The following are the principal 
accounts : — 





Abu'l Fazl. 


Firishta. 


Expedition 1 
Expedition 2. 

Expedition 3. 
Expedition 4. 


910. March to Multan. 
913. Expedition to Che- 
ghangarai. 

926. Expedition to Bhira. 

(Can obtain no account.) 


925. 
926. 

926. 
930. 


March to Bhira. 
Expedition against 

Yusufzai-Pesha- 

war-Indus. 
March to Bhira and 

Sialkot. 
Burning of Lahore 

and march to 

Sirhind. 



Khufi Khan follows Firishta, except in making the second expedition 
that of Sirhind, which is inconsistent with the Memoirs themselves. 



lU AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

The first two of these expeditions took place in the year 
1519, and both were of the nature of sudden raids. Early in 
February Babur determined to undertake an expedition 
against the Yusufzais. He had previously conciliated one 
clan by marrying an Afghan wife, and he now desired to reduce 
the remainder to an acknowledgment of his authority. He 
set off through the Qara Kupa pass, crossed the Sawad, and 
^finding himself on the borders of Hindustan, determined to 
cross the Sind. He marched towards Bhira on the Jihlam, 
encountering no resistance and doing no damage. For, as he 
says, 

*' As it was always in my heart to possess Hindus tan, and as these 
several countries . . . had once been held by the Turks, I pictured 
them as my own, and was resolved to get them into my own hands, 
whether peacefully or by force. For these reasons it being impera- 
tive to treat the hillmen well, this order was given : ' Do no hurt or 
harm to the flocks and herds of these people, nor even to their cotton- 
ends and broken needles ! ' " ^ 

Babur, in fact, regarded the Panjab as his own by right 
of descent from the great Timur who had conquered it. 
That this attitude was no pose is clearly shown by the 
message he sent on in advance of his forces to reassure 
the people of Bhira : *" The possession of this country by a 
Turk has come down from of old ; beware not to bring ruin 
on its people by giving way to fear and anxiety ; our eye is on 
this land and on this people ; raid and rapine shall not be.' " ^ 
Bhira and Khushab at once submitted, and sent their notables 
to make obeisance. Probably it was the ready submission of 
these districts that encouraged Babur to lay formal claim to 
them. As he remarks : '* People were always saying, * It 
could do no harm to send an envoy, for peace' sake, to 
countries that once depended on the Turk.' " ^ Accordingly 
he despatched one Mulla Murshid to the court of Delhi, to ask 
for the surrender of the countries claimed. How Ibrahim 
Lodi of Delhi would have received the envoy with his strange 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 380. « Ibid., 381. • Ibid., 384. 










A MIDNIGHT ESCAPADE. 

{Alwar Codex.) 

" I was miserably drunk, and next morning, when they 
told me of our having galloped into the camp with lighted 
torches in our hands, I had not the slightest recollection 
of the circumstance." — Erskine, p. 259. 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 115 

message we can only guess ; it was probably a very good 
thing for MuUa Murshid that Daulat Khan, the viceroy of the 
Panjab, detained him in Lahore. 

Meanwhile Babur, leaving Bhira in charge of Hindu Beg, 
prepared to resume his journey. He combined a good deal 
of pleasure with his business, making frequent excursions to 
view the new country, and finishing his days with uproarious 
drinking parties, which he describes with great zest. The 
following entry in his diary is typical : — 

" Having ridden out at the Mid-day Prayer for an excursion, 
we got on a boat, and arrack was drunk. . . . We drank in the 
boat until the Bed -time Prayer ; then getting ofiE it full of drink, 
we mounted, took torches in oiu* hands, and went from the river- 
bank into camp, leaning over from our horses on this side, leaning 
over on that, at one loose-rein gallop ! Very di'unk I must have 
been, for, when they told me next day that we had galloped loose- 
rein into camp carrying torches, I could not recall it in the very 
least." 1 

Shortly after this particular party, Babur started on his 
return journey to Kabul. On the way he reduced a Kakar 
tribe to submission ; and after crossing the Sind and marching 
by way of Ali Mas j id, reached his capital in peace. The 
expedition proved fruitless, however ; for no sooner was his 
back turned, than the countries and districts which had sub- 
mitted to him united to expel his lieutenant, Hindu Beg. For 
the moment, Babur took no action against them ; but in July 
following he made a raid upon the Abd-ur-rahman Afghans on 
the Girdiz border, inflicting exemplary punishment for certain 
disorders. In September of that same year, 1519,2 he turned 
his attention once again to the Yusuf zai. He marched through 
the Khyber and passed Ali Mas j id, but before he could carry 
out his design of victualling Peshawar fort to serve as a base 
for future operations, he was recalled by news of disturbances 
in Badakhshan. He therefore returned to Kabul, stopping 
by the way to punish the turbulent Khizr Khail. Apparently 

1 A. S. Beveridge, 387-388. 

* This, I think, was reckoned by Babur his second expedition. 



116 AN EMPIKE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

this was his second raid into Hindustan. The next two or three 
months were passed in diplomatic business, in frequent excur- 
sions, in wine parties, and in the composition of poetry. The 
Memoirs, before breaking off for another five years, are full 
of short entries, which throw much light upon the author's 
everyday life, occasionally varied by such an entertaining 
irrelevance as the following : " Half of one of my front teeth 
had broken off, the other half remaining ; this half broke off 
to-day while I was eating food." i 

It is difficult to realise that aU this apparent triviality was 
but the cloak of a great ambition joined to rare fixity of 
purpose. Beneath all his bonhomie and carelessness, Babur 
was steadily organising his resources and preparing the way 
for the great enterprise upon which his heart was set — ^the 
repetition of his ancestor Timur's conquest of Hindustan. 
That he desired to join battle with Ibrahim Lodi, there is nothing 
to show. The Panjab was his first objective ; and it is only 
when he realises that he cannot conquer the Panjab without 
conquering Delhi, that he makes up his mind to engage in a 
death-struggle with the reigning dynasty. 

It was in the year 1520 that Babur undertook his third 
expedition to Hindustan. He marched out of Kabul through 
the Bajaur country, which was now ruled by his own deputies. 
He passed the mountains, and crossed the Indus, marching 
straight on Bhira. Here he punished those who had rebelled 
against him after making submission, and expelled some 
Afghan freebooters who were oppressing the countryside. 
He then pushed on to districts which had never yet seen his 
standards, arriving at last at Sialkot. The town readily 
submitted, and received no harm at his hands. On the other 
hand, a place called Saiyidpur preferred to defy him. It 
was promptly assailed, stormed, and the inhabitants put to 
the sword. The women and children were led into captivity. 
How much further into the Panjab Babur would have 
penetrated we do not know : presumably his objective was 
Lahore itself. But his projected operations, whatever they 
1 A. S. Beveridge, 424. 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 117 

may have been, were not to be undertaken at present, for he 
suddenly received news that Shah Beg Arghun, lord of Qandahar, 
was raiding his territory. 

The interruption of his operations at this moment seems to 
have convinced Babur that it was useless to expect success in 
Hindustan so long as Qandahar remained as a thorn in his 
side. Accordingly, with the shrewdness that characterised 
him, Babur deliberately devoted the next two years to the 
task of securing himself from the attacks of the Arghuns. 
He began his work immediately, driving Shah Beg from the 
field and forcing him to take refuge in Qandahar itself. 
Babur then laid regular siege to the town with mines and 
artillery ; but the threefold citadel, being extremely strong, 
resisted all his efforts. He had succeeded, however in reduc- 
ing the garrison to great distress, when a pestilence broke out 
in his camp, and he was compelled to raise the siege and return 
to Kabul. 

Shah Beg took advantage of the brief respite to mature 
his schemes for withdrawing from Babur's sphere of influence. 
He well knew that Qandahar must shortly fall into the hands 
of the lord of Kabul, to whom it was vitally necessary. For 
his own part, he contemplated occupying Sindh, a country upon 
which he had already begun to encroach. 

In 1521 Babur again entered the territory of Qandahar, 
and did much damage, causing distress and misery to the 
population. He then laid siege to Qandahar, and put the 
utmost pressure upon the garrison. Once more, however, he 
had to retire without having accomplished his object. Shah 
Beg now made great efforts to induce Shah Ismael of Persia 
to interfere on his behalf. The scheme promised well, for the 
relations between Babur and the Shah were not good at the 
time : indeed a prominent Persian Amir, Ghias-ud-din Muham- 
mad, son of Amir Yusuf, was put into prison when falsely 
accused of being a partisan of Babur.i However, fortunately 
for the lord of Kabul, Shah Ismael had his hands quite full, 
and despite the persuasions of his lieutenants in Herat, who 
^ Ahsant us-Siyar : Hdbib-ua-Siyar. 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 119 

strongly urged the support of the Arghuns, he did nothing more 
than send various letters recommending the lord of Qandahar 
to Babur's mercy. Babur replied with the utmost courtesy 
that Shah Beg Arghun's boasted submission to Shah Ismael 
was a ruse based on necessity, and that he would do himself 
the honour to enforce a real submission and would send the evil- 
doer to the Shah. The authorities in Herat again protested, 
but for the moment did nothing more. 

Towards the end of the next year, 1522, Babur advanced to 
the siege of Qandahar. Before he undertook any operations, 
however, he received a message from Durmesh Khan, one of 
the officers of Prince Tahmasp, heir to the Persian throne, 
with the information that the Prince had formed the design of 
advancing on Qandahar, but had withdrawn on the under- 
standing that Babur would do the same. Babur, accordingly, 
seems to have resigned himself to the situation, and to have 
decided to withdraw and to await a more favourable oppor- 
tunity. Almost as soon as he had retired, Shah Beg, who was 
well aware that the fall of Qandahar could not possibly be long 
delayed, put the town in the hands of one Maulana Abdul 
Baqi, and departed to Sind with all his belongings. Maulana 
Abdul Baqi, treacherously betraying the trust reposed in him, 
sent a fast messenger to Babur at Kabul, offering to surrender 
the town. Babur accordingly hastened back, and received the 
submission of the fort, which was handed over to his younger 
son, Kamran Mirza,i who was a few months junior to 
Humayun. The Persian authorities put a good face on the 
matter, and graciously received the envoy which Babur sent 
to announce his success — a success which he shortly followed 
up by occupying the countrj^ of Garmsir. 

Once thoroughly secure from the side of Qandahar, he 
turned his attention again to the affairs of Hindustan. That 
land was now distracted with feuds. For some years, as 
we have already seen, the kings of Delhi had been with diffi- 
culty holding their own against the overwhelming power of the 

1 This account of the final reduction of Kandahar is based upon the 
Ahsan-vs-Siyar, which is clear and precise in detail 



120 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Rajputs. Now matters were made worse by the cruelty and 
arrogance of Ibrahim Lodi,i who was fast driving the Afghan 
feudatories, upon whose swords his empire rested, into open 
revolt. Fearing the power of Daulat Khan, viceroy of the 
Panjab, he summoned him to Delhi. Daulat Khan, who 
suspected that his life would be forfeit if he obeyed the 
summons, sent his son Dilawar instead. Ibrahim was enraged, 
and openly menaced father and son with destruction. The 
viceroy thereupon renounced his allegiance to Ibrahim, and 
sent his son to Babur at Kabul, offering fealty and inviting his 
help against the king of Delhi.2 What Daulat Khan really 
wanted, as afterwards became apparent, was a free hand in 
the Panjab, uncontrolled by any political superior. This, 
however, was carefully concealed under the guise of other 
schemes. Apparently it was suggested that Ibrahim should 
be deposed, and his uncle Alam Khan set up in his stead. 
Babur evidently considered this a good opportunity to inter- 
fere in the politics of Hindustan, for in 1524 he embarked upon 
his fourth expedition, with the open intention of supporting 
Alam Khan against Ibrahim. 

Passing through the Khyber, he crossed the Kakar country, 
reducing to temporary obedience the warlike tribes of that 
region. Fording the Jihlam and Chinab, he advanced to 
within a few miles of Lahore. He now discovered that there 
was an army of Ibrahim's in close proximity, commanded by 
Bihar Khan Lodi, Mubarak Khan Lodi, and some other Afghan 
amirs. He also learned that his ally Daulat Khan had been 
driven from Lahore and compelled to take refuge among the 
Biluchis. Babur promptly attacked and scattered the King 
of Delhi's army. The fugitives were driven into Lahore, and 
the town itself came under Babur's control. The bazaar was 
plundered and burned. After resting four days, the Kabul 
army moved south to Dibalpur, which was stormed. The 
garrison was put to the sword. 

At Dibalpur Babur was joined by Daulat Khan and his 

1 Firishta, ii. 38-9 ; TariJch-i-Hakki, ff. 275 seg. 
" Tarikh-i'Hakki, f. 281. 



SAMARKAND ONCE MORE 121 

sons. That nobleman was greatly angered at Babur's 
determination to keep Lahore in his own hands. Apparently 
his profession of allegiance to Babur had been nothing more 
than an excuse for securing the alliance of the King of Kabul. 
Daulat Khan seems to have expected that Babur would be a 
submissive tool in his hands. He evidently forgot that his 
own viceroyalty of the Panjab, which he desired to see in- 
dependent, was precisely that portion of Hindustan to which 
Babur believed himself to have the best claim. Babur on his 
part, taking the submission of the Afghan noble to be no 
empty formality, assigned him Jalandhar and Sultanpur 
instead of Lahore. Daulat Khan thereupon treacherously 
advised Babur to divide his forces, sending part to Multan and 
keeping part with him. But Dilawar Khan, who seems to have 
recoiled from the deceit, warned Babur to be on his guard, 
with the result that Daulat Khan and his other son Ghazi 
Kian were arrested. Shortly afterwards they were released, 
and then promptly fled to the hills. Their fiefs were conferred 
upon Dilawar Khan. Babur, feeling that he required more 
adequate resources before he ventured further into such troubled 
waters, fell back on Lahore and then retired to Kabul. Dibal- 
pur was given to the pretender Alam Khan with the trusty 
Baba Kushkeh to watch him. Lahore, with a considerable 
garrison, was put under Mir Abdul Aziz, while Sialkot was held 
by Khosru Kukultash. 

No sooner was Babur out of the way, than Daulat Khan 
showed his hand. Gathering a strong force, he captured his 
own son Dilawar and seized Sultanpur. Then he advanced 
on Dibalpur, and drove out Alam Khan. His first check, 
however, was received before Sialkot. A force of 5000 men, 
which he had detached to attack the town, was defeated by 
Babur's Lahore garrison. But shortly afterwards he scored a 
great success. Ibrahim Lodi had sent an army to reduce him 
to submission : and this army Daulat Khan succeeded in 
dispersing, part being won over, and part being dismissed, 
without a blow struck.^ 

1 Firishta, ii. 39. 



122 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Meanwhile Alam Khan had fled to Kabul, and informed 
Babur of his misfortunes. Babur then concluded a treaty 
with him, agreeing to seat him upon the throne of Delhi on 
condition that he himself should receive Lahore and the country 
west of it in full suzerainty. Alam Khan was then sent into 
Hindustan, armed with orders to Babur's generals in the 
Panjab. The King of Kabul himself was unable to leave, as 
he had to go to Balkh,i which the Uzbegs were besieging. 
Once in Hindustan, however, Alam Khan lost his head, and 
was artfully seduced by Daulat Khan, who feigned loyalty 
and sympathy. In consequence, Alam Khan threw over the 
alliance with Babur, brushed aside the remonstrances of Babur's 
officers, and ceded the Punjab to Daulat.^ Then, in conjunction 
with his new ally, he marched on Delhi, only to be disgracefully 
routed by Ibrahim in person.^ His army broke up, and he 
himself fled in terror. 

Such was the condition of afEairs in Hindustan when Babur, 
freed from the menace to Balkh, was able to undertake his 
fifth and last expedition. In the next chapter we shall examine 
in some detail the circumstances accompanying this momentous 
event, which resulted in the foundation of the Mughal Empire 
of India. 

1 Firishta says that Babur was ** sunk in a dream of indolence and 
luxury," which is extremely unlikely. Nothing but more urgent business 
would have kept him from Hindustan at such a crisis. 

"^ Firishta says that Babur's officers forced Alam Khan to cede to their 
master the countries north-west of the Indus ; but Babur does not 
mention the transaction. Doubtless he felt that Alam Khan's treachery 
made agreement impossible. 

' The allies surprised Ibrahim's camp at night, dispersed the greater 
part of his troops, and then scattered in search of plunder. The Sultan of 
Delhi remained in his tent, then, when day dawned, collected his personal 
followers and with great courage marched against the foe. Although 
Alam Khan's troops were flushed with victory, and immensely superior 
in numbers, they gave way to shameful panic and fled. 



CHAPTEE VI 

THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 

Authoritks. — HhQ Memoirs; Tarikh-i-Hakki; Firishta; Akbar-nama, 
Gulbadan Begam. 

Modern Works. — Erskine ; Lane Poole. 

Babur, having driven off the Uzbegs from Balkh, and thereby- 
disposed of his most immediate troubles, was able once more to 
turn his attention to the affairs of Hindustan. At first sight, 
the moment did not seem propitious. His army, at best not 
very formidable so far as numbers were concerned, was now 
further depleted by the necessity of detaching forces for the 
safeguarding of Qunduz and Qandahar. But he was never 
a man to hesitate because the odds against him were heavy. 
" On Friday, the first of Safar, 932,i when the sun was in 
Sagittarius, I set out on my march to invade Hindustan." 
It was not, however, until more than a fortnight later 
(December 3rd) that he got clear away, for he was compelled 
to wait for Humayun, whose dilatoriness was severely repri- 
manded. At length the whole force set off on the long 
march across the mountains. 

The news of the late occurrences compelled Babur to alter 
his plans. He had long needed little to convince him that 
his original design of occupying the Panjab was impracticable 
unless the central power of Delhi could be conciliated. There- 
fore, as we have already seen, he was induced to lend his aid 
to the project of deposing Sultan Ibrahim, and substituting 
for him Alam Khan. By this means, he would kill two birds 
with a single stone. The Panjab was to be the price of his 

1 Nov. 17th, 1525. 



124 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

assistance, and its guarantee was to be the control lie would 
exercise over the aged, somewhat feeble, monarch whom he was 
to place upon the throne. But the intrigues of Daulat Khan 
and the faithlessness of Alam Khan had modified the whole 
situation. Henceforth there^ could be no further question 
of the Lodi claimant, who had proved himself unworthy of the 
sacrifice of honest men's blood. Babur was fighting for his 
own hand against all comers, primarily, because he conceived 
the Panjab to belong to him by right : next, because he was 
convinced that the permanent occupation of the Panjab 
entailed the conquest of Hindustan : finally, because the 
political situation seemed to ofier the prospect of hard fighting 
and hazardous adventure, such as his soul loved. 

As soon as he had passed the mountains, however, he fell 
sick.i The occurrence was most inopportune, and he recognised 
in it the judgment of God upon his irregularities in the matter of 
wine. He resolved to mend his ways, although as a matter of 
fact he did not keep his vow, and soon afterwards, the attack 
of dysentery passed away. This was fortunate ; for having now 
embarked upon the most dangerous of his many perilous 
enterprises, he had need of all his powers of mind and body if 
he was to win through. When he arrived at the Kabul river, 
he learnt that Daulat Khan and Ghazi Khan, mth a force of 
twenty or thirty thousand men, were fast overrunning the 
Panjab, and were marching straight upon Lahore. It was at all 
costs necessary to prevent them from scoring so important a 
success at this juncture ; so Babur hastily despatched a 
messenger to his lieutenants in the town warning them that he 
was close at hand, ordering them to join him at all hazards, 
and strictly forbidding them to engage until he had come up. 
Meanwhile, he pressed on with speed. As he was passing the 
River Sind,2 he took the opportunity to number the forces 
which accompanied him in his dangerous venture. Incredible 
as it may seem, the entire army with which he hoped to conquer 

1 P. de Courteille, ii. 133; Uminski, 327. " A defluxion and a fever, 
accompanied by a cough and much spitting of blood." 

a Ist Rabi I (Deo. 16th). P. de CourteiUe, ii. 137; Ilmmski, 329. 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 125 

Hindustan amounted to twelve thousand men all told, including 
good and bad, small and great, fighting men and camp fol- 
lowers. 

On he pushed, however, regardless of danger, to the rescue 
of his threatened begs. As he crossed the Jihlam, renewed 
rumours reached him as to the strength of the Afghans. It 
was further stated, that Daulat Khan, determined to rid 
himself of the formidable prince whom he had hoped to use 
as a tool, had girded himself with two swords, in token of his 
resolution to conquer or die. But whatever might have been 
the spirit of Daulat Khan, he was powerless to keep his army- 
together when the rumour of Babur's approach was noised 
abroad. The King of Kabul had crossed the Bias, and was 
blockading Milwat, when he was joined by Dilawar Khan, 
who had once more deserted his father and brother for the 
service of the foreigner. Probably it was at this time that 
Babur learned of the true condition of the opposing forces ; 
at all events, he pushed on with a boldness that would have 
been foolhardy under ordinary circumstances. In this case, 
however, his rapid advance completed the confusion of 
Daulat Khan, whose army broke up in utter disorder, and fled 
to all quarters rather than encounter the invader. Daulat 
himself, with his immediate followers, could do nothing except 
offer a humble and undignified submission. The scene is 
described as follows : — 

" Daulat Khan now sent a person to inform me, that Ghazi Khan 
had escaped and fled to the hills ; but that if I would excuse his own 
offences, he would come as a slave and deliver up the place. I 
therefore sent Khwaja Mir Miran to confirm him in his resolution, 
and to bring him out. His son Ali Khan accompanied that officer. 
In order to expose the rudeness and stupidity of the old man, I 
directed the KJiwaja to take care that Daulat Khan should come out 
with the same two swords hung round his neck, which he had hung by 
his side to meet me in combat. When matters had come this length, 
he still contrived frivolous pretexts for delay, but was at length 
brought out. I ordered the two swords to be taken from his neck. 
When he came to offer me his obeisance, he affected delays in bowing ; 



126 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

I directed them to push his leg and make him bow. I then made 
him sit down before me, and desired a man who miderstood the 
Hindustani language to explain to him what I said, sentence by 
sentence, in order to reassure him ; and to tell him, ' I called you 
father : I showed you more respect and reverence than you could 
have desired or expected. I delivered you and your sons from the 
insults of the Baluchis. I delivered your tribe, your family, and 
women, from the bondage of Ibrahim. The countries held by Tatar 
Khan,^ to the amount of three krors, I bestowed on you. What evil 
have I ever done you, that you should come in this style against me, 
with these two swords by your side ; and, attended by an army, 
stir up tumult and confusion in my territories ? ' The man, being 
stupefied, stammered out a few words, not at all to the purpose ; 
and, indeed, what could he say to such confounding truths ? 
It was settled, that he and his family should retain their authority 
in their own tribes, and possession of their villages, but that all the 
rest of their property should be sequestrated. They were directed 
to encamp close by Khwaja Mir Miran." ^ 

The first stage of Babur's hazardous enterprise was thus 
brought to a close by the defeat of his enemies in the Panjab. 
There still remained the more difficult task of subduing the 
imperial forces of Delhi : and this even was child's play as 
compared with the business of reducing to submission the whole 
turbulent, distracted, faction-ridden kingdom of Hindustan. 
Babur, whether he realised the difficulties before him or not, 
saw clearly that his best prospect of success lay in prompt 
action : *' Putting my foot in the stirrup of resolution, and 
taking in my hand the reins of faith, I marched against Sultan 
Ibrahim, son of Sultan Sikandar, son of Sultan Bahlol Lodi 
Afghan, in whose possession the city of Delhi and kingdom of 
Hindustan at that time were." ^ 

As he advanced, he received various encouraging proofs 

* Tatar Khan was Daulat Khan's father, and one of the two or three 
leading Afghan nobles in the Panjab who had been instrumental in 
elevating Bahlol Lodi to the throne in 1460. He had held Sirhind 
and the districts north of the Sutlej. 

« P. de Courteille, ii. 148 ; Ilminski, 334, 336. 

' P. de Courteille, ii. 163 ; Ilminski, 337. 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 127 

that he was not friendless in the country of his antagonist. 
Two of the court circle, Araish Khan and MuUa Muhammad 
Mazhab, sent him letters protesting their devotion to his cause : 
Alam Khan arrived in a destitute condition to cast himself 
upon the protection of his late ally : and perhaps at this time 
also came proposals from Singram Singh the Rajput, that there 
should be a joint attack upon Ibrahim. Babur, however, fully 
realised how little confidence could be placed in such overtures 
as these. What reply he made to Singram Singh we do not know. 
It would seem that he returned a favourable answer, for he 
subsequently accused him of treachery in not taking any steps 
to carry out the terms of the proposed alliance. But he must 
have been well aware that the Rajput confederacy, which 
vvould spring into unequalled eminence if any disaster overtook 
the dynasty at Delhi, had a direct interest in the failure of his 
enterprise, and was by far the most formidable of all the powers 
antagonistic to his conquest of Hindustan. The situation wa^ 
fast becoming critical. Ibrahim, with a force estimated at 
100,000 men, was advancing from Delhi against the invader. 
Two advance-parties successively threatened to fall upon 
Babur's little army : one under Hamida Khan, the other 
under Daud Khan and Haitim Khan. The first was routed 
on February 26th by Prince Humayun, with the loss of 100 
prisoners and eight elephants : although it is eloquent testimony 
to the smallness of Babur's forces that the entire right wing, 
stiffened from the centre, had to be detached for the purpose. 
The second party was similarly routed on April 2nd, and 
driven up to the very walls of Ibrahim's camp, for Babur had 
by this time reached the Jumna, opposite Sirsawah. 

He then encamped, that he might make his preparations for 
the decisive encounter with the main body of the Afghans . When 
he reviewed his army, as it was drawn up in battle array, he dis- 
covered that his line did not occupy so much ground as he had 
anticipated. This can scarcely have been a matter of surprise, 
as from the 8000 or so effectives who started upon the march 
through the Panjab, a considerable number must have been 
absorbed by garrison duty, by safeguarding communications, 



128 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

and by the wastage of war. To Babur, however, the matter 
was of vital importance. If he were to triumph over the 
immensely superior forces of his adversary, it could only be 
by means of an effective combination between his highly- 
trained cavalry and his new firearms. Ustad Ali and Mustafa 
between them could do deadly work when they were confronted 
by a dense mass of enemy : but both cannoneers and matchlock- 
men were liable to be ridden down and overwhelmed unless 
carefully protected by covering forces of infantry and cavalry. 
So slow was the most rapid rate of fire ^ which could be main- 
tained by these primitive arms, that it was idle to expect 
Ustad Ali and Mustafa to hold a portion of the battle line by 
themselves. But how were these covering forces to be supplied 
from the tiny army ? For unless Babur could contrive to 
present a front equal in length to the effective front displayed 
by the enemy, his cavalry would be unable to employ the 
flanking tactics by which he hoped to roll up the Afghan wings 
upon the centre. Only by carrying out this manoeuvre, and 
by driving the enemy's forces into a huddled mass upon which 
Ustad Ali and Mustafa could direct their fire, would Babur 
be enabled to utilise his artillery to the best advantage. The 
difficulty which he was called upon to face, was that of holding 
superior forces in play upon an unduly extended front until 
the decisive moment for a charge on either flank had arrived. 
A council of war was held to consider the matter. 

The ground near Ibrahim's camp had been carefully sur- 
veyed, so that full advantage might be derived from any local 
peculiarities. The Sultan and his forces were lying across the 
main road to Delhi, just south of the important town of Pani- 
pat, which in Babur 's time was large and populous. The road 
runs to the north of the town, and the country round about is 
flat, nearly treeless, and well suited to the handling of cavalry. 
A quick advance of two marches would bring the Mughal 
army level with the town, and if a battle-position were then 
taken up, the houses and buildings of Panipat would effectively 
shelter Babur's right wing. The other wing must be 
1 Of. Leyden and Erakine, 247, 379. 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 129 

strengthened by some artificial means, such as a ditch or 
palisade of felled trees. There remained the two problems 
of holding a long line against the weight of superior numbers, 
and of providing adequate protection for the cannoneers and 
matchlockmen, so deadly in attack, and so vulnerable when 
standing upon the defensive. To these two problems Babur 
was able to supply a single solution. 

Influenced probably by the example of Salim the Grim at 
Chaldiran in 1514,1 Babur determined to employ a line of 
waggons to stiffen his weak front. By diligent search in the 
country round about, as well as by pressing into service the 
carts of his baggage train, he was able to collect some seven 
hundred. These were fastened together by ropes of raw hide 
— a makeshift for the iron chains employed by Ottoman 
tacticians — and arranged in units of a convenient size. In 
order to give special shelter to the musketeers and artillery- 
men, small breastworks, sufficiently large to protect one man, 
were constructed in considerable numbers, and arranged six 
or seven between each waggon along the portion of the front 
which Ustad Ali and Mustafa were to occupy. 

When these preparations were complete, Babur advanced 
two marches, and on April 12, 1526, took up his ground with 
the town of Panipat sheltering his right wing. On the left, 
he strengthened his position by digging a ditch and constructing 
an abatis of felled trees in such a manner as to render it im- 
possible for the enemy to roll up his line from the left. Secure 
on both flanks, he now strengthened his centre with the line 
of breastworks and waggons which he had previously pre- 
pared. The line, however, was not continuous : for, at in- 
tervals of only a bowshot apart, large gaps were left, wide 
enough for fifty or a hundred horsemen to charge through 
abreast. The dispositions for the battle were complete. 

It is not, perhaps, too much to say that the battle of 
Panipat has never been studied with the care it deserves. Many 
writers have completely misunderstood Babur's tactics, and 
have not realised the manner in which these tactics produced 

» Above, p. 110. 

8 



130 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

in victory their inevitable fruit. It has been the fashion to 
assume that Babur's waggon-line was a movable fortress,^ 
behind which his small force might hope to escape annihila- 
tion : that it was an imitation of the methods employed by 
the Hussites of Bohemia when confronted by the heavy cavalry 
of the Empire. Neither of these suppositions will bear in- 
vestigation. The waggon-line was stratagem of aggression 
rather than of defence : it was intended to hold the enemy 
along an extended front, so that his flanks might be open to 
attack. Certainly it provided shelter for the artillerymen 
and musketeers : but it was in no sense of the word a laager 
or a fortress. The proof of this is not far to seek. Men do not 
leave many wide gaps in a wall which is intended merely to 
protect them from attack : and had Babur designed to con- 
struct a " rampart " or a " movable fortress " he would surely 
have drawn up his waggons in a continuous line, even if he 
had not surrounded himself on all sides with them. Nor is it 
correct to compare the waggon-line of Panipat with the Hussite 
waggon-units which were trained to manoeuvre and combined 
to forming a real fortress of a movable type. 2 In Bohemia 
conditions had been esentially different : infantry were com- 
pelled to meet cavalry in the open field, and the waggon- 
laager was invented to shelter the infantryman. But Babur 
was a cavalry leader : it was in cavalry that his great strength 
lay : he had no need to cower behind a rampart to escape the 
shock of hostile horsemen. Even as his principal objective 
was to provoke, not to avoid, a combat, so was his waggon- 
line a device to destroy the enemy, not a refuge in which his 
own forces might shun destruction. 

It will be realised that the position which Babur had occu- 
pied with such skill was one of considerable strength. So 
formidable did it appear, that some warriors grumbled, and 
said that Sultan Ibrahim would never venture against it. 
But Babur justly remarked that the king of the Afghans was 
not to be judged by the standards of the Uzbeg Khans, that 

1 S. Lane Poole, Bahur : Medieval India under Muhammadan Rule, 
I Oman, Uiatory of tlie Art of War. 



BATTLE OF PAN I PAT. 



PO^rTJON I. 




Palisade of Carts and Breastworks 
"Musketeers Artil lery (ustadAli^ 

(Mustafa) wrmrnnmnrf^ ^ / 



'm ^^B ^m WMMM ^^ • : panipat 

^^^- R.F, ■ ■ 

RV. • 





Pa f is ad e 



■ • PANIPAT 
-y m I VILLAGE 



A - Advance Guard 
R - Right Wing 
L - Left Wing 
C - Centra. 
L.C. - ie/^i Centre 
R.C." Right Centre 
L.F. •■ Z.efC Flanking Party 
R.F. * /e/^At Flanking Party. 
RV. ^Reserve 



BaBurs tfoops 
t . u , I Sultan Ibrahim's ir^opi 



132 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

he was young, inexperienced and rash, embarking upon a 
campaign without any well-defined plan of action, marching in 
random fashion, and prepared to risk his all upon a hap- 
hazard battle. With this, presumably, the critics had to rest 
content : and the event was to show that Babur was perfectly 
correct in his anticipations. 

Well was it for the king of Kabul that his antagonist lacked 
all the qualities of a general save that of personal bravery, 
for the factor of numbers was overwhelmingly upon the side of 
the Afghans. Babur estimates that Ibrahim had with him 
100,000 men : which, reckoning camp-followers, is not by any 
means an impossible figure. And even if we put the proportion 
of non-efEectives to effectives very high i — as high as Mirza- 
Haidar put it at the battle of Chaunsa — we shall find it difficult 
to believe that Sultan Ibrahim had fewer than 40,000 fighting 
men. Babur remarks that he might have had 200,000 men 
if he had cared to spend some of his treasure in hiring them. 
But as over-taxation had been among the principal causes 
of Ibrahim's unpopularity,^ so was avarice to be a factor in 
his downfall : for a few thousand more men must assuredly 
have turned the day against Babur. Babur, as we have 
seen, cannot have had more than 8000 effectives, and probably 
had considerably fewer. The odds were, therefore, no less 
than five to one in favour of the Afghans at a minimum estimate. 
In ^addition the Afghans possessed a force of some thousand 
elephants, from which they doubtless hoped to derive great 
advantage in the battle. Their hopes, however, were doomed 
to disappointment. The elephants played little part in the 
fighting, presumably because they could not be induced to 
face the fire of Babur's ordnance. 

From April 12 until April 19 the two armies faced one 
another. The Afghans showed no signs of attacking, despite 
the annoyance to which they were subjected by small parties of 
Babur's men, who rode close to the camp, discharged showers 
of arrows against Ibrahim's troops, and galloped into safety 
before any effective reply could be made. On April 19, however, 
» Tarikh-i-Bashidi, 476. « Tankh-i.HakH, f. 276. 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 133 

Babur made up his mind to provoke a general action at all 
hazards. Further delay would imperil his whole enterprise, 
for he well knew that the fate of an invading army depends upon 
a succession of victories. Cautious tactics and indecisive 
engagements are equivalent to actual defeats : in victory 
and victory alone, lies salvation. Accordingly, on the night 
of April 19, by the advice of some of the begs who had stayed 
in Hindustan since the last expedition — presumably Hindu 
Beg, Abdal Aziz, Muhammad Ali Jang-Jang, and Khusru— a 
surprise was planned. Four or five thousand men — probably 
in large part auxiliaries and irregulars — were dispatched 
against Ibrahim's camp, under the command of Mahdi Khwaja, 
Muhammad Sultan Mirza, Sultan Junaid Barlas, and other 
tried leaders. Meanwhile Babur and Humayun stood to 
arms with the remainder of the troops, ready to press a victory, 
should the attack succeed, or to cover the retreat of the 
attackers should failure ensue. As it turned out, the surprise 
failed, perhaps on account of the indifference of the troops 
employed. The men lost their way in the dark, the leaders 
did not concert their movements properly, and when day 
dawned the expedition found itself close to the enemy's camp 
in a position of great peril without having effected anything. 
At the sight of the Mughal troops, however. Sultan Ibrahim 
beat to quarters and deployed his troops, doubtless thinking 
that he was to be attacked immediately. To this the little 
force probably owed its salvation, for while the Afghans were 
busy making their final dispositions, Babur 's men withdrew 
from their dangerous situation and rejoined their master. 
Babur was greatly relieved, for a reverse would have been 
fatal to his plans. He had actually despatched Humayun's 
division to cover the retreat, and was advancing in person with 
the main body of troops under his command, when he realised 
that the retiring troops were not being subjected to serious 
molestation. The army returned to its quarters, and all was 
quiet. On the night of April 20, however, there was a false 
alarm that the camp was being attacked — sure sign that the 
nerves of the Mughal soldiery were already sorely tried by the 



134 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OP THE 16TH CENTURY 

suspense — ^and for some time grave confusion resulted. At 
last order was restored, and the army sank into much-needed 
sleep. 

At dawn on April 21, however, it was clear that the abortive 
night attack had precipitated a crisis. Word was brought to 
Babur that the Afghans, now thoroughly aroused from their 
long inaction, were advancing in battle array. Quickly the 
Kabul troops armed themselves, and sprang into the saddle. 
Before the advancing Afghans could be discerned in the distance 
against the slowly-paling sky, Babur's men were in position. 

The Kabul army was drawn up in the traditional forma- 
tion — ^that formation which, though elaborated by Timur, 
goes back in all essentials to the military traditions of the 
Chinese. Right, centre, left and van were there, just as the 
author of the Sun Tzu laid down in the sixth century B.C. ; 
while in the presence of the large reserve, of the flanking parties 
on the extremity of each wing, and of the division of the centre 
into the right and left, we discern the improvements to which 
Timur owed so much of his success. Working from right to 
left, the position of the great begs was as follows : With the 
right flanking party {tulghma), on the extremity of the line, 
;svere Wali Kazil, Malik Kasim, and Baba Kushka, in command 
of a body of Mongol troops. This party was supported by the 
buildings of Panipat town. Next to them came the main 
right wing, under the command of Humayun, assisted by a 
body of trusted leaders, Khwaja Kilan, Sultan Muhammad 
Duldai, Hindu Beg, Wali Khazin, and Pir Quli Sistani. 
Further to the left was the right centre, where stood Chin 
Timur Sultan, Sultan Salim Mirza, Muhammad Kukultash, 
Shah Mansur Barlas, Yunis Ali, Darwish Muhammad Sarban, 
and Abdalla Kitabdar. In the left centre were the trusted 
Khalifa, Khwaja Mir Miran, Ahmadi Parwanchi, Tardi Beg, 
Kuch Beg, Muhibb-Ali Khalifa, and Mirza Beg Tarkhan. 
To the right of this division came the main body of the left 
wing, with the Muhammad Sultan Mirza, Mahdi Khwaja, 
Adil Sultan, Shah Mir-Husain, Sultan Junaid Barlas, Kutluq 
Kadam, Jan Beg, Muhammad Bakhshi, Shah Husain Bargi 



THE CONQUEST OP HINDUSTAN 135 

and Mughal Ghanchi. On the extreme left of the line, resting 
upon the ditch and the abatis of trees, was the left flanking 
party (tulghma)^ with Kara-Kuzi, Abul Muhammad Nirza-baz, 
Shaikh Ali, Shaik Jamal Barin, Mahdi, and Tangri Kuli Mughal. 
There then remained the van, the reserve, and, most im- 
portant of all, the ordnance. The van was led by Khusru 
Kukultash and Muhammad Ali Jang-Jang. Although the 
latter nobleman was incapacitated by an arrow-wound in 
the foot, received during the retreat of the unsuccessful night 
attackers, yet his name and prestige entitled him to this post 
of danger. The reserve was commanded by Abdul Aziz, 
the Master of the Horse. Along the front of the whole line, 
sheltered by the breastworks and waggons, were placed the 
ordnance and the matchlockmen. Ustad Ali,i with the heavy 
pieces, was posted on the right of the centre, while Mustafa, 
who seems to have been in command of the matchlocks and 
lighter pieces, held the line to the left. Babur himself, it 
would seem, was somewhere near the centre of his army. In 
the position which best enabled him to watch the progress of 
the fight, and to make such dispositions as events might 
require. He had no intention of allowing the enemy the 
advantage of the initiative, and had warned his flanking 
parties to hold themselves in readiness for delivering a blow 
directly the enemy should advance within reach. 

As the Afghans came into sight, it became obvious that they 
were bearing down upon the Mughal right wing. Apparently, 
Ibrahim was pushing his left wing forward in order to avoid the 
town of Panipat, upon which Babur's right rested. The necessity 
of attacking upon a front far shorter than had been anticipated 
dismayed the Afghans, and was plainly the cause of a certain 
confusion, of which their opponents did not fail to take advan- 
tage. The troops of Sultan Ibrahim came on, as Babur notes, 
at a rapid pace, and not until they perceived the way in which 

1 Ustad Ali is alwaj^s mentioned in the later part of the Memoirs as 
managing the firingi and heavy ordnance. Mustafa did not join Babur 
imtil after the siege of Bajaur, in which Ustad Ali is said to have managed 
the musketry as well as the artillery. 



136 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Babur's carefully-chosen ground hampered the operation of 
their left wing, did they hesitate. Their front was badly 
cramped, and although they seem to have brought their left 
wing to bear by adopting the expedient of inclining their line, 
they had not proper room to employ their strength. Their 
superiority in numbers, so far from benefiting them, became 
the cause of their downfall. 

Babur quickly realised that the enemy's left would come 
into conflict with his right at an early stage of the proceedings. 
Fearing lest his line should be broken by sheer weight of 
numbers, he had sent the whole of his reserve to support the 
troops holding the threatened point . As the Afghans advanced 
closer and closer, however, their front became more and more 
cramped, and at length the leading ranks hesitated, not knowing 
whether to attack under disadvantageous conditions, or to 
retire in order to readjust their line. The rear ranks, of course, 
pressed forward, and soon produced considerable disorder in 
the whole force. With the instinct of a born general, Babur 
seized upon the advantage given him by this moment of 
hesitation. He ordered the two flanking parties to sweep 
round the extremities of the enemy's confused line, and deliver 
a violent charge in rear. At the same time, the right and left 
wings pushed straight forward, while the ordnance and match- 
locks poured in a withering fire from the centre. The fighting 
on both wings soon became very heavy, and Babur was obUged 
to weaken the centre by detaching troops from the left centre 
for the support of the left wing. On the right apparently 
the support afforded by Abdal Aziz and the reserve was 
sufficient. The troops on the right of the centre were therefore 
disengaged, and Babur ordered them to charge upon the enemy's 
front. The Afghans were now more crowded than ever, 
for the charges upon their flanks and rear had driven their 
wings in hopeless confusion inwards upon their centre. Taken 
on all sides, the army of Sultan Ibrahim could do nothing. 
The men had no room to use their arms, and their charges 
were ineffective. Ustad Ali and Mustafa rained death upon 
the crowded ranks, and the unfortunate Afghans fell by 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 137 

thousands beneath the swords and arrows of the Mughals. 
Jammed together in a solid mass, Sultan Ibrahim's men could 
neither advance nor retreat. For some hours the slaughter 
continued. The engagement had begun about 6 a.m. and by 
noon the Afghans were hopelessly defeated, and those who 
could do so were fleeing for their lives. The great army of 
Sultan Ibrahim had been completely broken, and the losses 
were fearful. The battlefield was covered with corpses. 
Around the body of Sultan Ibrahim himself, who had died as 
an Afghan should, lay five or six thousand of his bravest 
warriors . On other parts of the field fifteen or sixteen thousand 
more corpses were counted, giving a total death-roll of some 
twenty thousand. Thus the little army of Babur had slain 
nearly three times its own numbers — a terrible testimony 
alike to the skill of the leader and to the deadliness of his 
scientific combination of cavalry and artillery. His own 
losses appear to have been quite inconsiderable. 

Nor can the importance of the battle of Panipat be 
gauged merely from the number of men who fell. From the 
political point of view it was eminently decisive. The Lodi 
dynasty was broken, and their power passed into the hands 
of strangers. For the moment, it seemed that the Afghan 
power was broken also : in the Doab it was whispered that 
the real tale of losses was forty or fifty thousand men, and 
the plain long bore a bad name in the countryside as a 
haunted spot, whence ghostly shouts of " Strike ! " " Seize ! " 
" Slay ! " " Smite ! " mingled with groans and the clash of 
arms, came to terrify the belated wayfarer. Great indeed was 
the impression made upon the Hindus by the catastrophe. 
They may well have thought that the empire of the Afghans 
had perished along with the last scion of the brilliant line 
which founded it. That such was not the case, the career of 
Shir Shah was in the days of Babur's son to afford ample 
evidence. 

The battle of Panipat marlss the end of the second stage 
of Babur's project of the conquest of Hindustan. The reigning 
dynasty of Delhi had indeed suffered a catastrophe from which 



138 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

recovery was impossible, but there yet remained to Babur 
the task of setting himself in the place left vacant. Fully 
reahsing this, he did not rest upon his laurels. While the 
army was recovering from its labours, Babur dispatched one 
party under Prince Humayun and Khwaja Balan to seize 
Agra, the ordinary residence of the late Sultan, and another, 
under Muhammad Khwaja, Muhammad Sultan, and Adil 
Sultan to take command of the forts and treasuries of Delhi. i 
After three leisurely marches, the army reached the bank of 
the Jumna opposite Delhi, and Babur, with characteristic 
zest, paid a visit to the tombs of Ghias-ud-din, Ala-ud-Din 
Khilji, and other famous conquerors. Then after estabUshing 
a provisional government for the city, with Wali Kizil as 
Shekdar 2 and Dost as Diwan, he pushed on to Agra, where he 
received an afiectionate welcome from Humayun. It was on 
this occasion that the prince presented his father with the 
famous diamond, valued at half the daily expenses of the world, 
which had been given him by the kindred of the king of 
Gwalior in gratitude for the courteous treatment they had 
received when Agra was captured. Babur, with characteristic 
generosity at once gave it back to his son. 

Following his usual plan, Babur concludes his account 
of the capture of the keys of Hindustan with a description of 
his impressions of the new land. At first, as might be expected 
from his partiality to the climate and scenery of Kabul, they 
were the reverse of favourable. Some of his remarks are of 
great importance as throwing light upon the state of the 
country. He notes with astonishment the ease with which 
towns rose and decayed and the spiritless way in which land 
was suffered to go out of cultivation. He also comments 
upon the annoying habit of townsmen of abandoning their 
homes and retiring into the depths of the jungle, whither 
they could not be followed, when they were asked to pay taxes. 
He probably did not realise these two traits were due to the 
chronic condition of anarchy which had existed save for a 

, * P. de Courteille, iL 170 ; Ilminski, 346. 

* i.e. Military magistrate. 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 139 

few intervals, for the last half century. In his disgust at 
finding how greatly the inhabitants of Hindustan differed 
from his own men of Kabul, he sweepingly condemned the 
people as being worse than the country : 

" Although Hindustan is a country naturally full of charm yet 
its inhabitants are devoid of grace ; and in intercourse with them 
there is neither friendly society, amity, nor stable relationship. 
They have no genius, no comprehension, no politeness, no generosity, 
no robustness of feeling. In their ideas, as in their methods, of 
production, they lack method, art, rules, and theory. There are no 
baths, candles, torches, schools, or even candlesticks." 

There are, however, he admits, some compensating advan- 
tages. 

" The great advantage of Hindustan, besides the vast extent of 
its territory, is the amount of gold, coined and uncoined, which may 
be found there. Also, during the rains the climate is very pleasant. 
Another advantage of Hindustan is the infinite number of craftsmen 
of all professions and industries which abound in it. This is not 
perhaps astonishing when one considers that industries are practised 
in the family, being handed on from father to son." ^ 

But this strange country, so full of contradictions, had 
yet to be conquered. Babur had already, however, come 
into possession of much of that gold which he talks about, 
and he proceeded to distribute it with the most prodigal 
generosity. Not merely his sons and relatives, with his 
principal followers, received substantial tokens of their lord's 
success, but in addition offerings were sent to the holy places 
of Mecca and Medina, and every living soul in Kabul received 
a silver coin.2 

The distribution of the spoils must have been a pleasant 
interlude in a period of great anxiety. Not until the first 
stages of the conquest were passed could Babur have realised 

1 P. de Courteille, ii. 226-230 ; Ilminski, 377, 378. 

* For an account of the careful way in which Babur sent a special 
present for each one of his relations, see Humayun Nama, S. 11-12. 
Babur kept so little for himself that he was called in jest kalandar (beg- 
ging friar). — ^Firishta, ii. 49. 



140 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

the magnitude of the task before him. Everywhere the 
leaders of the Afghan tribes set themselves up as independent 
chiefs, and fortified themselves in some convenient stronghold. 
Kasim Sambali set himself up in Sambal ; Nizam Khan in 
Biana ; Hasan Khan Mewati in Mewat ; Muhammad Zaitun 
in Dholpur ; Tatar Khan Sarang-Khani in Gwalior ; Husain 
Khan Lohani in Rabiri ; Kutb Khan in Etawa ; Alam Khan in 
Kalpi. " Those miserable heretics," says Babur, " were the 
promoters of all the agitations and disturbances which sur- 
rounded us." 1 Nor was this all. Kanauj, and the whole 
country beyond the Ganges, was still entirely in the power 
of formidable enemies like Nasir Khan Lohani and Ma'aruf 
Farmuli. The Afghans of this quarter set up a certain Bahadur 
Khan, son of Deria Khan, as Padshah, under the name of Sultan 
Muhammad. Worse still, Babur was experiencing the greatest 
difficulty in provisioning his army. The villagers fled before 
him, and took to brigandage. The roads were dangerous : 
it was impossible to get food or fodder. The hot weather 
was coming on, and the begs began to lose their courage. 
Their parrot cry of " back to Kabul " annoyed Babur, and he 
grumbles bitterly at their unceasing repetition of it. In 
this difficult situation, the king exhibited all his wonted 
courage and resolution. Never does the real strength of his 
character reveal itself so clearly as in such crises as this. He 
summoned a council-meeting, and frankly asked his officers 
if they were going to throw away such a magnificent opportunity 
for want of a little courage. 

";I told them," he says, "that empire and conquest could not exist 
without the material and means of war : that royalty and nobility 
could not exist without subjects and dependent provinces : that by 
the labour of many years, after undergoing great hardships, measuring 
many a toilsome journey, and raising various armies — ^after exposing 
myself and my troops to circumstances of great danger, to battle 
and bloodshed, by the Divine favour I had routed my formidable 
enemy, and achieved the conquest of numerous provinces and king- 
doms which we at present held. And now what force compels, what 

^ P. de Courteille, ii. 233; Uminski, 381. 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 141 

hardship obliges us, without visible cause, after having worn out 
our life in accomplishing the desired achievement, to abandon and 
fly from our conquests, and to retreat to K^ibul with every symptom 
of disjappointment and discomfiture ? Let anyone who calls himself 
my friend never henceforward make such a proposal ; but if there 
is any among you who cannot bring himself to stay, or give up his 
purpose of return, let him depart. Having made this fair and reason- 
able proposal, the discontented were of necessity compelled, however 
unwillingly, to renounce their seditious purpose." * 

The result of this appeal was exactly what might have been 
expected. All his oflBicers, save one or two whose health was 
seriously affected, determined to support their master. 

When the determination of Babur to remain in the country 
became generally known, it produced a great effect upon the 
situation. In the first place Singram Singh, who had previously 
hoped that Babur, after having smashed the power of the 
Lodi dynasty, would retire, leaving the coast clear for the 
Rajputs, now began to realise that the King of Kabul was not 
an involuntary friend but a conscious enemy. From this 
moment the Rajput confederacy commences its preparations 
for that final bid for supremacy which had long been a cherished 
design, but which was destined to prove in no long time so 
disastrous to its power. But in the next place, many of the 
petty chiefs who had contemplated fighting for their own hand, 
so long as it seemed that the country was about to relapse into 
anarchy, came in and gave their submission to Babur so soon 
as they realised that he was no mere raider, but a conqueror 
in the true sense of the word. Shaikh Guren, an important 
chieftain of Kol in the Doab, was won over by assurances of 
protection. He brought some two thousand men, who all 
joined Babur's army. Shaikh Baiazid, the brother and 
successor of Mustafa Farmuli, who had been the late Sultan's 
lieutenant against the rebellious nobles of the East, also 
entered Babur's service, and was given a jagir in Oudh worth 
a kror. Firoz Khan, Mahmud Khan Lohani, and other 

1 Leyden and Erskine,336; Ihninski, 382, 383 i P. de Courteille, 
236, 237. 



U2 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

prominent nobles, came over to Babur at the same time, 
and received valuable revenue grants. 

The tide gradually turned in his favour. Men came 
pouring in from all sides, and he was at length able to undertake 
the systematic reduction of the country. He hit upon a plan 
which at once satisfied his begs, and brought more and more 
territory under his control. He made grants of towns and 
fortresses yet unconquered to prominent men, and then sent 
them ofi with a small force to take possession. In this way 
Sambal fell at length to Humayun, Rabiri to Muhammad Ali 
Jang-Jang, Etawa to Mahdi Khwaja, Kanauj to Sultan 
Muhammad Duldai, Dholpur to Sultan Junaid Barlas. These 
little bands fought with the utmost zeal, conscious that they 
were making their own fortunes, while at the same time the 
territories thus acquired represented an extension of the 
dominions of their master. While these minor expeditions 
were going on, Babur, who had taken care not to weaken 
unduly his main striking force, held a council of war. The 
two main antagonists with whom he had to deal were the 
Afghan rebels who had set up Bahadur Khan ; and Singram 
Singh, who had taken advantage of the confusion to besiege 
and capture the strong fort of Kandar, near Rantambhor. 
Of these the former seemed for the moment more dangerous ; 
indeed, Babur's council were distinctly inclined to under- 
estimate the power of the Rajputs. They pointed out that 
Singram Singh was far away, and it was not even certain 
whether he had the power to come close.* On the other hand, 
Nasir Khan Lohani and Ma'aruf Farmuli having advanced at 
the head of forty or fifty thousand men, and having seized 
Kanauj, it was necessary to take immediate steps against them. 
Accordingly Humayun was despatched, with the expeditionary 
forces which had been intended for Dholpur and Etawa, to 
march in their direction. He advanced steadily down the 
Ganges, and while he was still twenty miles off Jajmau, where 
the rebel lords had assembled, their army took to flight without 
waiting for him. 

» P. de Courteille, ii. 245-6; Ihninski, 387. 




BABUR S GARDEN. 

{Agra Codex.) 








ONE OF BABUR S HEAVY GUNS ON ITS CARRIAGE. 

{Alwar Codex.) 

" Gun carriat?es, which it takes four or five hundred men to drag, 
two or three elephants draw without difficulty." — Erskine. 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 143 

Meanwhile Babur remained at Agra, strengthening himself 
for further efiorts, organising his newly acquired resources for 
the ensuing campaign against contumacious strongholds, 
and employing his leisure in the construction of pleasure- 
gardens, " full," as he himself says, " of beauty and symmetry." 
He directed particular attention to the building of baths, 
which as he remarks, afford a refuge from the three curses of 
Hindustan, heat, dust, and wind. The natives, struck with 
the novelty of the style of architecture, gave the nickname 
of " Kabul," to the quarter where the new buildings rose.^ 

Babur's main idea at this time was to reduce to submission 
all the petty independent Afghan chiefs before embarking 
upon the final trial of strength with Singam Singh. Accord- 
ingly he put his siege train in order, and constructed a monster 
gun. Eight furnaces were employed to melt the metal, and 
even then the great moulds were not full. The chief artillery- 
man, Ustad Ali Khan, was overcome with grief and shame, 
and was on the point of hurling himself into the molten 
bronze, but Babur consoled him with the utmost kindness. 
It was afterwards found that the barrel was all right, and 
that the chamber could be cast separately. At last the 
great piece was finished, and to Babur's delight, it was 
found to carry sixteen hundred paces. But just as he was 
preparing to take the field against Biana and other strong 
places, he heard that the Rajputs were already moving. It 
is typical of the fear inspired by the formidable confederacy 
that the first tidings of their intentions were sufficient to cause 
Biana, Gwalior,i and other citadels to offer voluntary sub- 
mission to Babur. The king, realising that there was no time 
to be lost, declared a Holy War,^ and recalled prince Humayun, 
who had just completed a brilliant campaign by capturing 

1 Tatar Khan in Gwalior changed hia mind about submission, and 
shut the gates in the face of the officers sent to receive his surrender. 
But the town fell almost immediately through treachery. 

* Badaoni has a story that in a council of the armies it was proposed 
that Babur, after securing Agra, should retire to the Panjab before the 
overwhelming might of Singram Singh. This proposal, if ever seriously 
put forward, was at once rejected. 



lU AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Jaunpur, Ghazipur and Kalpi. Babur himself was now at 
Agra again, setting all things in order for the death struggle 
with the Rajputs. At this particular juncture, in December, 
1526, an untoward incident occurred. Babur was nearly- 
poisoned by the mother of the late Sultan Ibrahim. Fortu- 
nately for himself, he only took the smallest possible quantity 
of the poisoned dish, which itself incorporated far less venom 
than was intended. Had he been killed, or even incapacitated 
for long, nothing could have saved the kingdom which he was 
building up, and the Rajputs would have been supreme in 
Hindustan. 

The following is his own account of the incident, as detailed 
in a letter he wrote to Kabul :— 

" The mother of Ibrahim, an iU-fated lady, had heard that I had 
eaten some thiaga from the hands of natives of Hindustan. . . . 
This lady, having heard the circumstance, sent a person to Etawa 
to call Ahmad, the taster, and delivered into the hands of a female 
slave a tola of poison, wrapped up in a folded paper, desiring it to 
be given to the taster Ahmad gave it to a Hindustani cook who 
was in my kitchen, seducing him with the promise of four Pergannas, 
and desiring him by some means or other to throw it into my food. 
She sent another female slave after the one whom she had desired 
to carry the poison to Ahmad, in order to observe if the first slave 
delivered the poison or not. . . He did not throw it into the pot, 
because I had strictly enjoined the tasters to watch the Hindus, 
and they had tasted the food in the pot while it was cooking. When 
they were dishing the meat, my graceless tasters were inattentive, 
and the cook threw the poison upon a plate of thin slices of bread : 
he did not throw above one-half the poison that was in the paper 
upon the bread, and then put some meat fried in butter upon the 
slices. If he had thrown it above the fried meat, or into the cooking 
pot, it would have been much worse : but in his confusion, he spilt 
the better half on the fireplace. On Friday, after afternoon 
prayers, they dished the dinner. I was very fond of hare so I ate 
some, as well as a good deal of fried carrot. I was not sensible of 
any disagreeable taste. 1 ate a morsel or two of smoke-dried meat, 
and felt nausea. I was seized with so violent a retching that I 
nearly vomited. At last, perceiving I oould not check it, I went 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 145 

to the watercloset, and vomited a good deal. As I had never 
vomited after my food, some suspicions crossed my mind. I ordered 
the cooks to be taken into custody, and desired the meat to be given 
to a dog, which I had shut up. Next morning, about the first watch, 
the dog became sick, his belly swelled, and he seemed distressed. 
Although they threw stones at him, and shoved him about, they 
could not make him rise. He remained in this condition until noon, 
when he rose and recovered. Two young men had also eaten of 
this food : next morning they too vomited much, and one was 
extremely ill, although in the end both escaped. 

" On Monday, being a court day, I directed all the grandees and 
chief men, the Begs and Wazirs, to attend the Diwan. The two 
men and the two women were brought in, who, being questioned, 
detailed the whole circumstance. The taster was ordered to be cut 
to pieces : the cook was flayed alive : one of the women was ordered 
to be trampled to death by an elephant, the other to be shot with a 
matchlock. . . Thanks be to God, there are now no remains of 
illness." ^ 

It was extremely fortunate that he was able to attend to 
business again so soon, for matters were beginning to look 
serious. The garrison which had been thrown into Biana 
when it surrendered was now besieged by the united forces of 
Singram Singh and Hasan Khan Mewati — an unholy alliance 
whose only bond of union was a common desire to expel 
Babur from India. The garrison of Biana, sallying out some- 
what too rashly, suffered a severe check, and was soon hard 
pressed. 

Babur at once despatched Muhammad Sultan Mirza with 
a body of light troops to the relief of Biana, cursing meanwhile 
his own undue generosity in having released with honour the 
son of Hasan Khan Mewati, who had been taken at Panipat. 
Realising that the most critical moment of his career was now 
approaching — the moment which was to make or mar his 
new dreams of empire — Babur took the field in person on 
February 11th, 1527.2 The opening of the campaign was not 
propitious. The relieving force was unable to reach the 

1 P. de Courteille, ii. 260-4; Ilminski, 396-398. « 9th Jemadi, 1. 

L 



146 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

garrison of Biana, or even to get into communication with the 
besieged. To make mattere worse, they brought back such 
stories of the ardour and bravery of the Rana's men that 
Babur's army began to be discouraged. He marched from 
Agra to Sikri, while the enemy advanced in his direction as 
far as Bhasawar. To add to the depression, another unfortunate 
incident occurred. The begs took it in turns to command 
the advance guard. On Abdul Aziz's day, he advanced to 
Kanua without any precaution, and his little band of 1500 
men was promptly assailed by three times its own numbers. 
Several successive contingents had to be despatched to bring 
him off, and this was only done at considerable cost, with the 
loss of his standard. 

In expectation of an immediate battle, Babur and his men 
buckled on their armour, assembled their waggons and gun 
carriages, and went out to look for the enemy. Having advanced 
two miles without seeing anything of their adversaries, they 
determined to camp, more especially as they were now within 
convenient distance of a large lake. Babur set about fortify- 
ing his position. Along the front of the line were placed the 
groups of waggons, each waggon connected with its neighbour 
by an iron chain sixteen or eighteen feet long, which took the 
place of the extemporised hide-ropes of Panipat field. Behind 
these waggons, as before, the artillerymen and the musketeers 
were to find shelter. Mustafa, the Turkish expert, won Babur's 
particular commendation by the skill with which he arranged 
his barricade, and the Emperor determined to post him on the 
right, where Humayun would benefit from his assistance. 
Ustad Ali, whose arrangements were not quite so perfect, was 
placed in front of the centre. The position was further 
strengthened by a ditch, cut to protect the army on the sides 
where there were no waggons, for the nature of the country is 
such that it was impossible to find natural protection either 
on the flanks or in the rear. But the most notable feature 
of the preparations was the construction of novel engines 
of wood, resembling wheeled tripods. These, when placed 
in line, afforded at once cover for the musketeers and a rest for 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 147 

the muskets. They could be trundled forward or backward ; 
and, secure in their protection, a corps of musketeers could 
advance right out into the open field, should circumstances 
make such a move desirable. These tripods also were con- 
nected together by ropes of hide — a clear indication that their 
construction was undertaken upon the spur of the moment. 

There is no doubt that in ordering the army to make these 
novel instruments of war, Babur and Khalifa, his right-hand 
man, were killing two birds with one stone. On the one hand, 
Panipat had shown how great would be the advantage if 
musketeers were so equipped as to be able to fight in the open 
field, to follow up a charge or to take a wavering foe in flank. 
But, on the other hand, the labour of constructing the tripods, 
which occupied between three and four weeks, gave a respite 
to the army, and enabled them to recover their confidence. 
Unfortunately, at this moment came a small reinforcement 
of five hundred men, bringing with them two notable things — 
a supply of Babur's favourite Ghazni wine, and a prominent 
astrologer. Doubtless the Padshah was pleased with the 
former : but before he could have consumed much of it, he 
heard that the astrologer was turning the hearts of the army 
to water with his distressing predictions. Babur had in his 
early days suffered disaster through giving ear to astrological 
superstitions, and he had no mind to repeat the experience. 
He endeavoured to arouse the martial spirit of his men by 
dispatching plundering parties in various directions : bat 
soon found that something more startling was necessary if 
they were to be rescued from their depression. Accordingly, 
he solemnly renounced wine i — not for the first time, indeed ! — 
poured out the new Ghazni vintage upon the ground, broke 
up his costly drinking- vessels, and distributed the fragments 
among the poor. Some three hundred of the principal begs 
followed his example, and the dramatic spectacle fired the 
army with new enthusiasm. To celebrate the occasion, Babur 

* While there is no reason to question Babur's sincerity at the moment 
of renunciation, it cannot be maintained, as some historians assert, that 
he remained true to his vow for the rest of his life. See below, p. 174. 



148 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

formally decreed a remission of the tatnga or stamp-tax, as 
an act of piety. Before long, however, a fresh wave of de- 
pression swept over the little force. The spectacle of their 
master's changed manner of life may well have helped to 
disconcert them. In any case, Babur found it necessary to 
restore their courage by a direct appeal. If we may recon- 
struct his speech, after the manner of Thucydides, he must 
have said something like this : 

" My lords and comrades in arms ! Do you not know that there 
lies a journey of some months between ua and the land of our birth 
and our famihar city ? If our side is defeated (God preserve ua 
from that day ! Qod forbid it !), where are we ? Where is our 
birthplace — ^where our city ? We have to do with strangers 
and foreigners. But let every man remember that whosoever enters 
this world is subject to destruction : for God alone is eternal and 
unshakeable. He who commences the banquet of life must at length 
drain the cup of death. Better is it to die gloriously than to live 
with a name disgraced. If I die with gloiy, all is for the best. Let 
me leave an honourable name, for certainly my body cannot escape 
death. Almighty God has ordained for us this fortune, and put 
before us this noble destiny, that if we are vanquished, we die 
martyrs : if we conquer, we have won His holy cause. Therefore 
let us all swear, in the name of the All Mighty, that we will never flee 
from a death so glorious : and that while our souls are not separated 
from our bodies, our bodies shall never be separated from the perils 
of this combat." * 

He added that after this enemy had been beaten, he would 
give leave to go home to everyone who asked for it. The 
response was enthusiastic. 

" They swore by the divorce of their wives, and on the Holy 
Book : they recited the fatiJia and said, ' Oh Kling ! God willing, we 
will not spare ourselves in sacrifice and devotion, so long as breath 
and life are in our bodies.' " 

The spirit of the army was entirely restored, which was 
fortunate, for bad news was coming in apace. Rabiri had been 
seized by Husain Khan Lohani : Chandwa by Kutb Khan. The 

^ P. de Courteille, ii. 283-4 ; Humayun Nama, ed, A. S. Beveridge, 99 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 149 

troops in Sambal and Kanauj abandoned their charges and fled 
to Babur. Gwalior was besieged, and, worst of all, desertion 
began in the ranks even of the main army. 

When his preparations were complete, however, Babur 
pushed on undauntedly. On March 12th Ustad Ali Elhan 
and the musketeers advanced, the waggons and the wheeled 
tripods rolling in front of them. The Padshah himself rode up 
and down the line, his eye everywhere, cheering, encouraging 
and exhorting. When he came within view of the enemy, 
he sent out a few skirmishers, who successfully attacked 
some stragglers and brought ofi a number of heads. This 
small exploit greatly encouraged the army. 

Having carefully surveyed the ground. Babur halted three 
days near Kanua while Khalifa and the pioneers dug trenches 
and raised ramparts. At last on March 16th, when all was 
ready, the army advanced in battle array and occupied the 
position prepared for it. Just as the tents were being pitched, 
the news was brought that the enemy was in motion. Without 
confusion, all fell into their appointed places. 

The Mughal camp was situated on the plain, near the village 
of Kanua, about ten miles from Sikri. It is unfortunately 
impossible to determine with any accuracy the site of the 
position taken up by the Padshah's men. Our only evidence 
consists of three facts : first, that Babur advanced to meet 
the Rajputs, who were coming up from Bhasawar ; secondly, 
that he was quite close to Kanua hill ; thirdly, that the battle 
broke earlier, and was far more desperately contested, upon 
the right wing than upon the left. This would perhaps justify 
the assumption that Babur's camp faced west and south, 
with its left resting upon, or partially flanked by, the hill 
above mentioned. 

Along the front of the line were the artillerymen and the 
musketeers, secure in the shelter of the chained waggons and 
of the tripod-like breastworks. Mustafa, with the match- 
locks and culverins, was posted in advance of the right wing, 
while Ustad Ali, with the heavy ordnance, held the ground 
in front of the centre. As at Panipat, the line was not 



BATTLE OF KANUA. 



POSITION I. 



L.F. 



1 - 1 






1 ^ 1 


L 


•- 1 



Ditch, lined with guns, tripods and waggons. 



(Ustad All) 
L.C 



( Mustafa) 

i 
R.C. R 



HT 



R.F. 



POSmONi 2. 



L.F, 



,RF 



RV. 



LC 



i=o 



HT. 







RC. 



Illllllll iMIIIIII 

Artillery and Musketeers 



Ditch 



L - Left Wing 

R = Right Wrng 

RV. « Reserve 

L.C. = Left Centre 

R.C.= Right Centre 

C * Centre 

H.T. " tlousehold troops In Reserve 

L.F. = Left Flanking Party 

R.F, » Right Flanking Party 



Babur's troops 
' ' Singram Singh's troops 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 151 

continuous ; there was a series of gaps through which charges 
were delivered upon the foe. In the rear, and upon both 
flanks, apparently, were the entrenchments thrown up by 
the pioneers. The disposition of the troops was as follows. 
On the extreme left was a picked body of household troops 
detached to constitute the tulffhma, under the command of 
Mumin Atkah and Kustam Turkman. To the right of this 
body was the left wing, divided, we may assume, into the 
customary three divisions, left, centre, and right, under the 
general direction of Khalifa. With him were a number of 
highly distinguished Turki nobles, Saiyid Mahdi Khwaja, 
Muhammad Sultan Mirza, Adil Sultan, Abdul Aziz, Master 
of the Horse, Muhammad Ali Jang-Jang and others : as well 
as a contingent of Afghan leaders, Jalal Khan, Kamal Khan, 
Ali Khan Farmuli, and Nizam Khan of Biana. We are not 
informed of their relative positions : indeed, owing to the 
fact that all existing accounts of the battle are inspired by 
Babur and Humayun, who were posted upon the centre and 
right respectively, much of what took place upon the left wing 
is far from clear. i On the immediate right of the left wing, 
came the left division of the centre, where were posted Ala-ud- 
Din Lodi, now once more an adherent of Babur, Shaikh Zain, 
to whose elaborate but bombastic description we owe so much, 
Muhibb Ali, Shir Afkan, Khwaja Husain, and others. Next, 
in the very centre of the battle line, stood the main body of 
the household guard, commanded by the Padshah himself, 
who was surrounded by his aides-de-camp under Sultan Mu- 
hammad, the adjutant-general. On the right of the centre 
was posted a body of Babur's most trusty army begs. Chin 
Timur Sultan, Sulaiman Shah, Yunus Ali, Shah Mansur Barlas, 
Abdullah Kitabdar, Dost Ishaq Agha, and others. On their 
right again was the left division of the right wing, under Mir 
Hamah, Muhammad Kukuldash and Khwajagi Asad. The 

1 The sources for the battle of Kanua are, upon the Mughal side, 
Shaikh Zain's official Persian dispatch, Babur NamUf 316 seq. : Leyden 
and Erskine, 359 seq. : P. de Courteille, 287 seq. : Ilminski, 410 seq. 
For the Rajput side, see Tod, Annals of Mewar, chapter ix. 



152 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

central body of the right wing was commanded by Humayun, 
and included, like the left wing, a number of highborn Afghans 
who had for the moment thrown in their lot with the Mughals 
— Khan Khanan Dilawar Khan, Malik-Dad Kurram, and 
Shaikh Guren. In the right division of the right wing were 
Kasim Husain Sultan, Ahmad Yusuf Aglanchi, Hindu Beg, 
Khusru Kukultash, and Kawan Beg Urdu-Shah, as well as 
a couple of ambassadors, who had been brought, apparently, 
to see the fighting — Sultan Aghur, the ambassador of Iraq, 
and Husain, the ambassador of Sistan. The end of the line 
was held by the right tulghma, a strong body of Mongol troops, 
under the command of Tardika, Malik Kasim, and Baba Kishka. 
It seems that the number of troops under Babur's command 
was greater than at Panipat, but the depression and vacillation 
which the Padshah was at such pains to overcome proves that 
the average morale was not so good. To the sturdy Turki 
and Mongol troops who had won him the throne of Delhi, 
Babur had by this time added contingents of Afghan troops 
of poorer quality. That these had swelled the total force to 
any considerable extent is unlikely, in view of the wastage 
which must have occurred in the original army from the 
ravages of climate and warfare, as well as from the exigencies 
of garrison duty. In the absence of precise information, no 
sound conclusion can be arrived at : but from the general 
character of the fighting as well as from the number of indi- 
vidual leaders mentioned by name in the official account, we 
may perhaps hazard a guess that Babur's army numbered 
eight or ten thousand effectives. That the numerical odds 
were prodigiously unfavourable to him is beyond question. 
According to the Mughal official estimate, Singram Singh's 
immediate adherents numbered 100,000, and the followers 
of the confederated chieftains who marched with him, another 
100,000. These numbers are plainly exaggerated so far as 
fighting men are concerned, although if camp followers were 
reckoned in, it is conceivable that so great a total might be 
approached. In the Turki account it is stated that only 
one-third of Rana Singram Singh's personal feudatories had 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 153 

already given proof of their fidelity in previous battles i : but 
even so, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that in 
effectives the Rajput chieftain outnumbered his antagonist 
by seven or eight to one. 

It was about three hours after sunrise when the battle 
began, a fact which fixes the first Rajput attack somewhere 
between 9 and 9.30 a.m. Apparently Singram Singh's idea 
was to roll up the Mughal line from the extreme right, for his 
first desperate charge was delivered against the tulghma 
troops under Malik Kasim and the right division of the right 
wing under Khusru Kukultash. For some time, the centre, 
the left, and even the main body of the right, were out of 
action, and the men upon each side contented themselves 
with watching the movements of their adversaries. Very 
soon, however, it became necessary for the Mughals to rein- 
force the troops on the extreme right, who were suffering 
severely. The moment was one of great danger. A tulghma 
was accustomed to attack, not to resist, and signs of weakening 
began to show themselves. If the end divisions of the right 
wing gave way, the whole line would be rolled up, and defeat 
would be immediate and irreparable. Babur instantly 
determined to dispatch his trustiest leader to the threatened 
point. The assistance came just in time. Chin Timur Sultan, 
with a body of picked men, charged the Rajput left wing, 
smashed into their midst, and so relieved the pressure upon 
the Mughal right. The attack was well pushed home, and 
a gap was apparently opened between the Rajput left and 
centre. Of this the Mughal leaders were quick to take ad- 
vantage. Mustafa, the artilleryman, trundled his culverins 
and his tripods into the open field, and from this position 
of advantage commenced a destructive fire with small-calibre 
ordnance and matchlocks. So great was the effect that the 
morale of the discomfited Mughals was restored. Fresh 
troops were hurried up, and little by little the fighting involved 
all the men of the right wing, as Kasim Husain Sultan, Kawan 
Beg, Urdu-Shah, Hindu Beg, Muhammad Kukultash, and 
1 Ilminski, 495 ; P. de Courteille, ii. 444. 



154 AN EMPIKE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Khwajaji Asad were successively drawn into action. Before 
long, as Rajput reinforcements brought ever-increasing 
pressure to bear upon the Mughal right, contingents from 
the nearest division of the centre were hm-led into the fray : 
first Yunus Ali, Shah Mansur Barlas and AbduUa Kitabdar. 
An instant later came Dost-Ishaq Agha. Thus supported, 
and aided in addition by Mustafa's deadly firearms, the Mughal 
right beat off all attacks and inflicted severe losses upon the 
enemy. 

Rana Singram Singh now turned his energies elsewhere. 
Avoiding for a moment the centre, where Ustad Ali and the 
heavy ordnance were making themselves unpleasantly active, 
the Rajputs delivered a series of fierce charges upon the left. 
But while the main body of the left wing, manned by Mu- 
hammad Sultan Mirza, Adil Sultan, Muhammad Ali Jang-Jang, 
and other stout warriors, stood fast and declined to yield 
a foot, the tulghma under Rustam Tiu-kman and Mumin 
Atkah swept round and fell upon the rear of the enemy. A 
tulghma attacking, the Rajputs soon found, was a very different 
thing from a tulghma attacked : and when Mullah Mahmud, 
Ali Atkah, and at last Khalifa himself, hurried up, the effect 
produced by the charge in rear was serious. None the less, 
by sheer weight the Rajputs maintained a formidable pressure 
upon the left wing, and Babur found it necessary to dispatch 
Khwaja Husain with a picked body of household troops as a 
reinforcement. 

The battle now raged all along the line, and remained for 
some time indecisive. On the one hand the Mughal artillery 
caused fearful carnage in the crowded Rajput ranks, and on 
the other, the unceasing pressure of superior numbers reduced 
Babur's men almost to their last gasp. Realising the necessity 
for a supreme effort, if the scales of victory were not to incline 
against him, the Padshah ordered the household cavalry in 
the centre to charge in two compact bodies, one on each side 
of the artillery, leaving a clear passage down the middle for 
Ustad Ali's " great balls." Simultaneously, it would appear, 
a strong body of matchlockmen was brought from the right 




BABUR DIRECTING A CHARGE AT KAKUA. 

(Alwar Codex.) 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 155 

wing, whose fire supplemented the efforts of Ustad Ali. This 
clever manoeuvre was crowned with success. The charge of 
the household troops forced back the Rajput centre, and 
the firearms blasted a lane of death into the thick of the foe. 
The matchlockmen then advanced from behind the artillery, 
trundling their tripods in front of them, and the ground gained 
was quickly occupied by the Mughal infantry. The Padshah 
in person now ordered a general advance in the centre. The 
guns were moved forward, and Ustad Ali redoubled his 
activities. At the spectacle of Babur's advance with the 
victorious centre, the Mughal right and left wings struggled 
desperately to straighten the line. So fierce were their charges 
that they forced the Rajput right and left wings back in con- 
fusion, and drove them inwards upon the centre. Once more was 
the fight evenly contested for some time. Although the Rajputs 
were plainly outmanoeuvred, their superiority in numbers 
was still a terrible strain upon the wearied Mughals. Rousing 
themselves for a last effort, Rana Singram Singh's men hurled 
themselves upon the right and left wings of their opponents, 
who were now threatening to sm-round them. Desperate 
indeed was that final charge ; the Mughal wings were driven 
from their enveloping position, and forced back almost in 
a line with their centre, nearly it seems to the place where 
Babur himself was standing. On the left, where the pressure 
was greatest, the Rajputs came within an ace of breaking 
through. But the advantage gained by their antagonists 
was too marked, and the toll taken by the artillery was too 
severe. Sullenly the Rajput chivalry ebbed back ; the 
Mughal wings in their turn charged once more, this time with 
decisive effect. Their opponents broke and fled. As Babur 
was gallantly forcing his v/ay forward in the centre, his lieu- 
tenants on each wing came to tell him that the day was won. 
The hosts of Singram Singh melted away like snow at noonday, 
and the battle of Kanua was over. 

The Rajput historians state that only treachery could have 
caused the defeat of the Rana,i although such an asssumption 
* Tod, Annals of Mewar, chapter ix. 



156 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

is not necessary to account for a reverse suffered at the hands 
of a skilful general supported by good artillery and well- 
disciplined troops. There is no stamp of truth upon the story 
told in Annals of Mewar, that Babur tried to make peace 
before fighting, and succeeded only in corrupting the inter- 
mediary, Siladi of Raisin, who joined him at the decisive 
moment of the struggle. The cry of treachery is a common 
solace to the pride of a beaten army.i Xhe Rajputs, indeed, 
suffered a terrible shock. Hardly a clan was there which did 
not lose the flower of its princely blood. Singram Singh himself 
escaped, badly wounded : but his power was broken, and 
the decline of his prestige fatally weakened the only bond which 
could hold together the great Rajput confederacy. 

The consequences of the battle of Kanua were most 
momentous. In the first place, the menace of Rajput supre- 
macy, which had loomed large before the eyes of Muhammadans 
in India for the last ten years was removed once for all. The 
powerful confederacy, which depended so largely for its unity 
upon the strength and reputation of Mewar, was shattered by 
a single great defeat, and ceased henceforth to be a dominant 
factor in the poUtics of Hindustan, Secondly, the Mughal 
empire of India was now firmly established. Babur had 
definitely seated himself upon the throne of Sultan Ibrahim, 
and the sign and seal of his achievement had been the annihila- 
tion of Sultan Ibrahim's most formidable antagonists. Hither- 
to, the occupation of Hindustan might have been looked upon 
as a mere episode in Babur's career of adventure : but from 
henceforth it becomes the keynote of his activities for the 
remainder of his life. His days of wandering in search of a 
fortune are now passed away : the fortune is his, and he has 
but to show himself worthy of it. And it is significant of the 

1 Rajput annalists display considerable dislike for Siladi, who was 
subsequently converted to Islam under the name of Salah-ud-Din by 
Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. See Mirat-i-Sikaridari, That the story 
of his treachery is without foundation seems clear from the fact that ho 
never received any reward from the Mughals and never came into contact 
with them subsequently. After the defeat ho retired southwards, and 
concerned himself as before with the politics of Malwa. 



THE CONQUEST OF HINDUSTAN 157 

new stage in his career which this battle marks that never 
afterwards does he have to stake his throne and life upon the 
issue of a stricken field. Fighting there is, and fighting in 
plenty, to be done : but it is fighting for the extension of his 
power, for the reduction of rebels, for the ordering of his 
kingdom. It is never fighting for his throne. And it is also 
significant of Babur's grasp of vital issues that from henceforth 
the centre of gravity of his power is shifted from Kabul to 
Hindustan. He recognised clearly that the greater must 
rule the less, and that from the little kingdom of former days 
he could never hope to control the destinies of his new 
empire. Often as his heart sighed for the streams and 
meadows of his mountain home, he resolutely remained in 
India for the rest of his life, fighting, governing, administer- 
ing, striving to put all things upon a sound basis ere death 
called him away. 

After the battle of Kanua, Babur, having for the moment 
no open enemy in the field, was able to proceed unhindered 
to the reduction of his dominions. After constructing the 
usual tower of skulls as a trophy of victory, he pushed on to 
Biana. He contemplated a regular invasion of Kajputana 
to set the seal upon his triumph, but as the hot weather was 
coming on, he reluctantly yielded to the counsel of his amirs, 
and abandoned the project. He determined, however, to 
undertake the reduction of Mewat, and marched into Alwar, 
receiving the submission of the local chieftains. He then 
returned to Agra via Kotila and Biana. 

While he was on the march, he allowed Humayun,^ Mahd 
Khwaja, and all who needed rest and refreshment, to return 
to Kabul. Many seem to have availed themselves of the 
promise which had been given before the battle. Probably 
the Padshah was not sorry to see them go. The condition 
of Kabul, denuded of troops as it was, was the cause of some 
anxiety to him, for he weU knew that if a sudden reverse of 
fortune should drive him from India, it would be of the greatest 

* The Prince exposed himself to grave censure by plundering some 
treasure-houses at Delhi on the way home. 



158 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

importance to possess a strong and stable base from which to 
conduct future operations. 

For himself, there was no rest. The first thing to be done 
was to reduce to submission the districts which had thrown ofi 
their allegiance before the battle of Kanua. An expedition 
dispatched against Chandwa and Rabiri, under the leadership 
of Muhammad Ali Jang- Jang and Tardi Beg, proved completely 
successful. The fortresses were recaptured without difficulty, 
and the principal rebel, Husain Khan Lohani, was drowned 
in attempting to escape across the Jumna. Etawa promptly 
surrendered when this news reached Kutb Khan. Another 
strong force was despatched against Biban, a powerful Afghan 
chief, who had taken advantage of the recent confusion to 
besiege and take Lucknow. Biban fled without fighting, and 
his conquests fell into Babur's hands. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 

Authorities. — Babur nama ; The Tarikh-i-Daudi ; The Tarikh-i- 
Shir Shahi. 

Modern Works. — Erskine ; Elliot and Dowson, volumes iv and v. 

Now for the first time Babur was able to complete the dis-\ 
tribution of the different provinces and districts among hisv 
followers. Hitherto he had been compelled to keep his whole 
force mobilised ; buU^fe^ triumph of Kaniia and the con- 
sequent disappearance of open resistance, made it possible 
for him at the beginning of tli!^rains_to direct each of his nobles 
to_repair to his own farga na^ to s et^is necessary affairs in 
order, and tpjprepare his ar ms and acc outrements in readiness 
for the season when military: _operations would again become 
possible. Such was the first ste p taken by Babur in founding 
the admini stration ofthe^Iughal Empire. 

A word must here be said as to the diffic ulties with which il.>| ^** 
he was confronted. Such executive machmery as had been iu'7 
use during the fourteenth century, had not survived the troubles ) 
of the fifteenth. Th e monarchy _ofthe Lodi dynasty had been 
a k ind of h egemony, exercise d by one chief over_ others^ who 
wer e almos t his equals_in j^wer if not in prestige. Local ' 
administration seems to have been entirely in the hands of 
local magnates, who in their turn depended not upon the 
central authority, but upon the great nobles in whose provinces^ 
they lay. ' The control of t he king o ver the localjiuthorities 
see ms to have been confined to the right to demand a ce rtain 
fix ed quota of armed men, an d_the_ right to jexact certain 



I: 



160 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

loosely-defined dues, the amount of which could be increased 
if thfe* sovereign was strong enough or rash enough to ignore 
the resulting discontent.^ The admi,jiifitration of justice seems 
f to have been the work of the civil and religious officers ap- 
j pointed by, and responsible to, the great chiefs. Justice was 
not a royal prerogative, although cases of importance were 
brought to the king for decision ; rather, it would seem, as an 
act of courtesy upon the part of the litigants than as the 
consequence of any prescriptive right on the part of the king. 
IllJ9Laj. the sovereign jvas indeed the leader, although how far 
{^h.e was able to impose his will upon the powerful chiefs whose 
foUowings composed the bulk of his army depended rather 
/ upon his personality than upon his position. A^ king like 
^-BB-hlnl^jarho iranldy recognised the limitations^f his preroga- 
tives^ found this loose system of administration not difficult 
to work.. It seems to have been easy, generally speaking, 
to gather an army which would help to impose the royal will 
upon some flagrant offender : although it behoved the king to 
be sure that the roy al will d id not difier^ssentially from the 
V, ^^^ wiU_of the powerful feudafcfiries. 
. ^^ ^^.u^ ^^ ^^ w^^ i^^^ because of his failure to recognise the 
V J(^ \ limitations imposed by circumstances upon the power of the 
j sovereign, that Ibrahim Lodi had come to such utter disaster 
(^ — disaster of which his defeat by Babur was the consequence 
\jather than the occasion. He^had attempted to restore to 
the S ultanate of Delhi th at absolute authority which it had 
poss essed in th e_j3?^-Qf Muhar^piad bin Tughlaq. But times 
had c hanged: th eraonarchyLpf the Lodis was not a divine 
inher"itance.__but a human compromise, and the power and 
pres tige of the monarch were_^Iikfijiiminished. 
r These considerations must be borne in mind when the 
iposition of Babur is to be determined. On tlie one hand,, he 
had, _displac£d_the, Xodis,- A. .dynasty whose success, such_jis 
it was, Jbad resulted from a frank recognition of the position 
of the sovereijgn as jpnmu§ inter ^ares ; on the other hand, he 

1 That this could be very formidable was shown by the recent example 
of Ibrahim Lodi. 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 



161 



was_liknself the very embodiment of absolute kingship, the 
kijjgship not only of conquest, but also the kingship of ?igHt 
divine : being first a great conqueror surrounded by the) 
glamour of success ; and, secondly, the representative of Amir l 
Timur, entitled to all the superstitious reverence with which-/ 
his ancestor had been invested. 

It. will thus be seen that Babur had not merely to conqujgr j 
a kingdom,: he had to recreate a theory of kingship. He was \ 
determined to be no sultan, hampered by all the limitations 
which had beset the Lodi dynasty, but a padshah, looking down 
upon even his highest amirs from the towering eminence upon j 
which the divine right of Timur^s blood had placed him. "Now, as 
we have already noticed, there was no administrative machinery 
adequateto the task of bringing Hindustan under the effectual 
dominance^oFthe centralised, absolute monarchy which repre- 
sented Babur's ideal of kingship. ' Something entirely new, some- "^ 2h9\^ 
thing to bridge the gulf between central and local authorities, j 
somethin g such a s afterwards came into_ being under Akbar, 
was. required. Unfortunately Babur, being no administrative^ 
genius, but a plain warrior with statesmanlike instincts, found [ 
it necessary to carry on the administrative plan which he found \ 
already in existence, namely, that of parcelling the dominions / 
subject to him among the great amirs, mth the understanding ) 
that each was responsible for the good order of the districts / 
under his control. The consequences of this plan had always 
been the same : 'the monarchy, having erected an artificial 
barrier between itself and the local administrationj lost little 
by little all its_authority, until last of all its prestige departed, , 
and the thro ne became .the prey of contending factions. The 
great3mirs^j_on the other harid, gained_what.the crown lost. 
During the reign of Babur, this does not become apparent, ^ 
partly because he was invested with the prestige of a con- i 
queror : partly because the time was too short for the conse- > 
quences of his policy to make themselves felt. 'Even before 
he _died^however,_ syrnptomS-Of radical unsoundness in .the ** * "' -^^'Cc 
administra tion are not faj-to seek., ji^The old haphazard 
finjhcjaL system entire ly f ailed to providejneans for the 



162 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

up-keej9i_ofjbhfiJ^fi[rDlessional ^^ so^^ like the gunners and 
matchlockmen^ who . were paid directly from the _ rx^yal 
revenue. ■' Having distributed with lavish generosity the royal 
hoards in Delhi and Agra, Babur suddenly found himself 
with an empty treasury. - For the moment the deficit was met 
by alevy of 30 per cent, on the revenues of all great offices, 
^ut in the time of Humayun there is a repetition of the old 
fetory of financial breakdown, accompanied by revolution, 
'intrigue, and the dethronement of a dynasty. ^It was the rare 
good fortune of the house of Timur that they were able at 
l^t to regain their heritage of conquest, strengthened by the 
work of the Afghan Shir Shah, an administrator of marked 
originality, who, all unwittingly, built up for the Mughala 
ivthat structure of administrative machinery which, while it 
was necessary for securing the triumph of the new ideal of 
kingship they represented, they had been entirely unabla to 
construct for themselves. -^Had Babur been "as successful in 

1 administration as he was in fighting, the troubles of Humayun's 
reign would never have occurred. Ag it waSj he bequeathed 
to his son a monarchy which could be held together only by 
the continuance of war conditions ; which in times of peace 
was weak, structureless and invertebrate. One of the most 
fi illuminating criticisms upon the monarchy founded by Babur 
^ was made by Shir_Shah himself : — 

" Since I have been amongst the Mughals, and know their con- 
duct in action, I see that they have no order or discipline, and that 
their kings, from pride of birth and station, do not personally super- 
intend the government, but leave all the affairs of the state to their 
nobles and ministers, in whose sayings and doings they put perfect 
confidence. These grandees act on corrupt motives in every case, 
whether it be that of a soldier's, or a cultivator's or a rebellious 
zemindar's. Whoever has money, whether loyal or disloyal, can get 
his business settled as he likes by paying for it : but if a man has no 
money, although he may have displayed his loyalty on a hundred 
occasions, or be a veteran soldier, he will never gain his end. From 
this lust of gold they make no distinction between friend and foe." * 

1 Tarikh'i-Shir Shahi ; Elliot and Dowson, iv. 330-1. 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 163 

J' 
It^ s, then, as a conqueror and not as an administrator that 

BabuLKiust^ considered to have laid the foundations of tlie 

Mongol Empire. It is his conquests which are of importance, 

not _his administrative achievements : for while the former 

remained the nucleus of the power of his descendants, the 

latter beca me th e cause of much disaster before their final 

abandonment. 

DuringjalLtM -three years which dapsed between the battle \ 
of Kanua^jjid ±ha -day of his death in 1530, Babur was^en- 1 
gage d in an almost continuous series of military operations' 
fQr j|^ safeguarding ^rud extension of. his doniinioris. In thej 
intervals _o f campaig ns, he amused himself by touring tEej 
country, seeing itjyith.hi&.Qwj]Leyes, and recording his.impres-l 
sio]agJqr_the benefit olhia. readers. He also spent much time i 
in superintending building operations, constructing for himself j 
palaces^ baths, and gardens desi gned as refuges against the! 
burning summeFfie'at^. 

The tirst'military operation of any importance after the 
subjugation of the eastern rebels detailed in the last chapter 
occurred in December^ 1527. Babur decided that though the 
power of the Rajput confederacy had been broken, yet there 
were individual leaders who needed a lesson. One of the most 
famous of these was Modni Rao, the kingmaker of Malwa, who 
at present possessed the great fortress of Chanderi. A jihad, 
was declared, and on December 9th Babur set out from Sikri 
on the arduous march to Malwa. But before he went, he had 
to make plans for the frustration of the hostiHty of the Afghans. 
Being well aware that the goodwill of the noblemen in the east 
was more than doubtful, Babur directed the loyaHsts of that 
quarter to assemble at Kanauj. The redoubtable Shaikh 
Baiazid, who was then supposed to be at peace, was invited to 
join in the projected campaign against the hostile Afghans, 
but in the event of his refusing, Babur gave orders that he 
was to be attacked first of all. 

Having thus made provision for eastern affairs, Babur 
crossed the river at the ford of Kinar, near the junction of the 
Ganges and the Chambal, and proceeded to Kalpi. From 



164 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Kalpi he marched to Kechrani via Irich and Bhander. From 
Kechran to Chanderi the road ran through rough country, and 
pioneers had to be sent ahead to level the way and cut down the 
jungle for the passage of the army. He then crossed what he calls 
the " Berhanpur River " — ^presumably a stream which then ran 
in one of the sandy beds which still exist between Banpur 
and Lalatpur — and encamped opposite Chanderi on January 
21st, 1528.2 A favourable position was chosen for the batter- 
ing cannon ; breastworks and scaling ladders were prepared. 
Babur, who only wished to ensure the submission of the rebel 
leader, offered very favourable terms ; but Medni Rao rejected 
them scornfully. On January 28th Babur marched from his 
camp, determined to deliver an assault. Just as the final 
preparations had been completed, a messenger came in bear- 
ing bad news. The suspicions formed of Baiazid had been 
well founded, for the forces which had been gathered for the 
protection of the east had been defeated and driven back by 
the Afghans. Lucknow had been abandoned. In this crisis 
Babur displayed his usual steadfast courage, declining to be 
turned back from the enterprise on which he was then engaged. 
On the morrow the assault was delivered, and after desperate 
fighting the fort was taken amidst the scenes of horror and 
carnage which always accompanied the fall of a Rajput 
stronghold. 

By February 2nd Babur was on the move again, bound 
for the threatened point in his eastern dominions. He arrived 
at Kanauj on February 27th, not a moment too soon, for on 
the way he heard that the town had been abandoned, and 

1 For particulars of this march, which aro much confused both in 
the Turkish and Persian texts owing to the corruption of proper names, 
I am much indebted to Kazi Jalal Uddin, Lecturer in Historical 
Geography at the M.A.O. College, Aligarh, and to Shaikh Abdul Qadir, 
Professor of History at St. John's College, Agra, who have brought much 
local knowledge to bear upon the questions under dispute. I am not 
entirely convinced by the identification of the modern Kechran with 
the Kechweh of the text, through the Kechrawa of ibn Batuta : but 
I must admit that the ancient site near the modern village of that name 
agrees exactly with Babur's description. 

« N. W.P. Gazetteer, i. 515. 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 165 

that Shamsabad had been stormed by the enemy. On the 
news of Babur's approach, however, the rebel leaders, Baiazid, 
Biban, and Ma'aruf, fell back, seized the east bank of the 
Ganges opposite Kanauj, and prepared to dispute his passage. 

Covered by his artillery, Babur determined to force a 
crossing. Despite the execution caused in their ranks by his 
ordnance, the enemy mocked at the enterprise, which they 
regarded as hopeless. But the bridge which his pioneers 
constructed grew steadily, and at length on March 12th and 
13th advance parties crossed and engaged the enemy. There 
was some sharp fighting, but no general engagement : and on 
the night of March 15th, finding that they had no longer any 
prospect of preventing Babur's passage, the Afghan rebels 
decamped. As the Padshah himself desired to go to Oudh, 
the pursuit of the flying enemy was entrusted to Chin Timur 
Sultan, but was carried on in such dilatory fashion that there 
seemed some danger of the enemy rallying. Babur thereupon 
dispatched reinforcements to the pursuers, and the fugitives 
were followed with greater energy. Much baggage was captured, 
and the families of several nobles were taken prisoners. 

For the remainder of the year 934 the Memoirs are defective, 
so we can only conjecture how Babur spent his time until 
September, 1528. The season would prevent any extensive 
military operations, and it seems probable that the Padshah 
occupied himself in his building projects, and in compiling 
the book to which we owe so much of our knowledge of him. 
When the Memoirs are resumed, Babur is found at Agra, 
planning to start on a tour to Gwalior. Just before he started, 
he received in audience, among other distinguished men, 
Khwandamir, the author of the Hahih-us-Siyar and other 
works, who had come from the court of Herat to be intro- 
duced to the conqueror of Hindustan.^ It was the first 
recognition by the outside world of the epoch-making character 
of Babur's achievement. Babur, after this interview, went 
on the tour he had planned, visited Gwalior, and spent some 
time examining the palaces of Man Singh and Vikramadit. 
1 P. de Courteille, ii. 342 ; Elliot and Dowson, iv. 143, 165. 



166 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

He was impressed by their size and splendour although he 
grumbles a little at their want of taste and elegance. 

Towards the end of 1528 Humayun, from his distant pro- 
vince of Badakhshan, announced with pride the birth of his 
first son, whom he called by the somewhat ill-chosen name of 
Al-Aman. The letter which Babur wrote in reply to this 
intelligence has been well described as " frank, fault-finding 
and affectionate." The Emperor begins, after warm con- 
gratulations and loving messages, by commenting upon the 
name of his newly-arrived grandson. Al-Aman means " pro- 
tection," but unfortunately the common people pronounce 
it Alaman and Ilaman, words which signify in Turki "a robber," 
and " I do not feel " respectively — ^to put it mildly, an un- 
fortunate ambiguity. He further blames Humayun for his 
carelessness in despatching business : it was only a month's 
journey from Hindustan to Badakhshan, and yet the messengers 
sent by the Emperor to his son sometimes took a year to return ! 
Again he chides him for repeating so often in his letters " I 
wish to be alone " — an ill thing indeed for a king : as well as 
for his habit of using such far-fetched expressions in his writings 
that they are difficult to understand. After this paternal 
admonition, Babur proceeds to deal with business of greater 
importance. Having just heard of the recent successes gained 
by Shah Tahmasp of Persia over the Uzbegs, the Emperor 
had determined to make another attack upon his old enemies. 
Accordingly he draws up in his letter a plan of campaign for 
Humayun. He informs him that his brother Kamran and the 
Kabul begs have been put under his orders, and commands him 
to undertake an expedition against the Uzbeg chiefs in Hisar, 
Samarkand, or Merv, as may seem most fitting. He counsels 
him to show greater energy, " for indolence and laziness accord 
not at all with the exercise of sovereignty. If you desire to 
please me, you must put aside your taste for solitude, and that 
uncouth disposition which makes you fly from the society 
of others. . . . Instead of allowing your younger brothers 
and the begs to assert their independence, you must make them 
wait upon you twice a day, so that you can take counsel with 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 167 

them on whatever happens." Finally, Humayun is adjured 
to act handsomely towards Kamran, that "correct and worthy 
young man " — a command which Humayun loyally obeyed, 
to his abiding sorrow — ^to work hand in hand with Khwaja 
Kilan, and to try by all the means in his power to win the heart 
of Sultan Wais.i 

Soon afterwards an event occurred which must have filled 
Babur with pride. Vikramadit, the second son of Singram 
Singh, ofiered to surrender the great fortress of Rantambhor in 
exchange for Shamsabad and seventy lakhs. Such an offer must 
have made Babur feel that the work of subduing Hindustan 
was nearly done : indeed, in October he announced his intention 
of making an effort to return to Kabul for a short while in the 
following spring, in order to watch over his interests in Balkh 
and Badakhshan, which the Uzbegs were once more threatening. 
As, however, the Uzbegs were shortly defeated with great 
loss by Shah Tahmasp, who had occupied the throne of his 
father Ismael since 1523, the Kabul expedition did not take 
place : but the mere fact that it was ever contemplated shows 
that Babur regarded Hindustan as secure. And in truth 
the work had been well done : it hardly seemed likely that the 
Padshah would have to take the field there in person again. 
As a matter of fact, this proved to be necessary in the following 
year. 

In the beginning of December, 1528, Babur sent his third 
son Askari,2 with a strong force, into the eastern provinces, 
where there seemed some likelihood of further trouble. Babur's 
own dominions were, indeed, nominally clear of rebels, but 
the fragments of the army which had been led by Baiazid, 
Biban, and Ma'aruf had taken refuge across the frontier of 
Bengal. Babur had no desire to molest that kingdom, which 
lay somewhat apart from the general course of Hindustani 
politics, if only he could be sure that his rebels would not 
receive countenance and support from the authorities. Accord- 
ingly, Askari was given orders to watch the Bengalis, but to 
manage things by himself unless they showed signs of giving 
1 T.B., 409. » Bom in 1616. 



168 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

trouble. In that case he was to communicate with his father 
at once. 

Meanwhile, Babur was enjoying a brief rest at Agra. He 

occupied some of his time in planning the great strategic 

road which was to safeguard the communications between 

I Agra and Kabul, and in giving orders for watchtowers, changing 

j stations, and rest-houses along its course. He also took this 

j opportunity to arrange a grand entertainment at which were 

I present ambassadors from Persia, from the Uzbegs, from the 

'• various Hindu kingdoms, as well as venerable Khwajas from 

Transoxiana. There was a great presentation of gifts and 

honorary robes to the ambassadors : nor did Babur in his 

hour of prosperity, forget the friends who had stuck so closely 

to him in the days of adversity : — 

"As for those who had followed me from Andijan," he says, 
" without hearth or home, who had accompanied me everywhere, 
had come with me from Sukh and Hushyar, I presented them with 
honorary robes, with costly dresses, with gold and silver and apparel 
of every kind." 

By way of completing Babur's triumph, an envoy arrived 
from Bengal, bringing a message of submission which, to the 
straightforward Padshah, seemed to leave no doubt whatever 
as to the pacific intentions of the Bengahs. This was on 
January 1st, 1529. 

The submission, however, proved to be a mere blind. A 
few weeks afterwards, when Babur was arranging a punitive 
expedition against the Biluchis, who had been raiding his 
territories, news was brought that Mahmud, son of Sikandar 
Lodi, had seized Bihar. Abandoning his projected expedition 
to the western provinces, Babur moved slowly eastward to the 
threatened districts, interviewing ambassadors, corresponding 
with his deputies in Kabul, and transacting a great deal of 
business as he went. His leisurely journey occupied just three 
months, from January 10th to April 10th, and on the latter 
date his advance guard got into touch with the rebels at Chunar. 
Mahmud and his army fled before him, finally crossing the 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 169 

border, and opening negotiations with the authorities in Bengal. 
Despite the renewed protestations of the Bengali ambassador, 
the attitude of his principals seemed to Babur unsatisfactory. 
The Padshah therefore continued his march eastward. Whether 
the Bengalis suspected him of a design to invade their terri- 
tories, or whether they had been acting from the first in concert 
with the rebellious Afghans, is uncertain : at all events twenty- 
four divisions of the army of Bengal crossed the Gunduk, and 
took up a fortified position on its banks. Babur was not 
anxious to fight, and when the Bengalis took their stand right 
in his path, at the junction of the Ganges and Gogra, he made 
one last effort to avert hostilities, by courteously requesting 
the King of Bengal to order his army to retire into its own 
territories, guaranteeing that no harm was intended either 
to Bengal or the Bengalis. When no answer was returned, he 
determined to force his way across the river. 

The fight of the Gogra was not unlike that of the Ganges, 
save that the enemy was far more determined and far better 
equipped with artillery. Babur brilliantly forced the passage 
under a heavy fire, and the Bengali army was taken in flank 
by a party under Askari which had crossed in a different place. 
On May 6th, 1529, the enemy broke and fled after a fierce 
struggle. In addition to disposing of the danger from Bengal, 
this victory had one important consequence. Muhammad 
Ma'aruf, who had been forced by the Bengalis to join them, 
promptly came over to Babur, who was thus freed from the 
opposition of one of the most formidable of his antagonists. 

Baiazid and Biban, however, were of sterner metal. They 
crossed the Siru, and besieged Lucknow. Owing to an out- 
break of fire in the fort, the place fell. After this success, 
the rebels crossed the Ganges, and moved in the direction of 
Chunar and Jaunpur. On the news of Babur's approach, 
however, their army broke up in confusion. Babur thereupon 
marched back to Agra. It was his last campaign : all was now 
quiet. 

Babur seems to have been disappointed at the failure of 
Humayun's campaign against the Uzbegs, and was dissatisfied 



170 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

with the way it had been managed. He recalled the boy Hindal, 
his youngest son, the favourite of his old age, from Kabul : 
he was growing old, he said, and desired to have a son by his 
side. But in the same message he announced his intention 
of visiting his northern dominions in person, and suggested 
that peace should not be made until he arrived. It appears, 
however, that the suggestion arrived too late to be acted upon. 
The Emperor managed to get as far north as Lahore, where 
Kamran met him, but his intentions of marching to Kabul 
and Transoxiana were interrupted, not merely by the threaten- 
ing aspect of affairs in Bengal, but also by his rapidly failing 
health. He seems at this time to have suffered from occasional 
fits of deep depression, which led him to announce to his family 
his intention of abandoning the world and retiring to pass the 
remaining years of his life in hermitical solitude. He who had 
formerly been so strong and so determined, now became 
vacillating and irresolute : and in striking contrast to his 
former purity of life, he now began to display an inordinate 
longing for the daughters of the Philistines, as represented 
by two Circassian girls who had been sent him as a present 
by Shah Tahmasp. To these girls, if Shaikh Zain i is to be 
believed, he became greatly attached. Indeed, during these 
the last two years of Babur's life his mental vigour unquestion- 
ably became seriously affected. 

It is probable that to this moment should be ascribed the 
beginning of a remarkable palace conspiracy, which had for 
its object the setting aside of Babur's heirs, and their replace- 
ment on the throne by one Mir Muhammad Mahdi Khwaja, 
at this time Jagirdar of Etawah. About this individual, 
remarkable as it may appear, very little is known with certainty^ 
He was a high noble, who had been in Babur's service for some 
ten years, belonging by birth to that aristocracy of religion 
which so often intermarried with the bluest blood in the 
State. He was the husband of Babur's full sister, Khanzada 
Begam, and is often mentioned in the later portion of the 
Memoirs^ always in connection with nobles of the most exalted 
^ Tarikh-i-Baburi (Rampui codex). 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 171 

rank. It appears that Khalifa,^ Babur's lifelong friend and 
counsellor, now possessed of absolute power through the 
Emperor's growing feebleness of mind and body, designed to 
set this man on the throne, to the exclusion of Babur's sons. 

In connection with this intrigue, the reality of which is 
unquestioned, some fascinating problems present themselves. 
Nowhere are we told of Khalifa's exact motive : and we are 
left to conjecture what is meant by Nizam-ud-Din Ahmad's 
phrase that the old counsellor " dreaded and suspected " 
the succession of Humayun, " in consequence of some things 
which had taken place in the course of worldly affairs." So 
intimate had always been the connection between Khalifa 
and his master, that we are at first tempted to think that 
Babur himself may have encouraged the scheme, in view of 
the fact that many of Humayun's actions, particularly the 
looting of the Delhi treasure-houses and the indolent adminis- 
tration of Badakhshan, had in late years given him great 
offence. But from his death-bed pronouncement, it seems 
plain that he had never contemplated any successor except 
his eldest son : and it was probably his incapacity for business, 
due to failing health in body and mind, that induced the in- 
triguers to hope for success. Khalifa may have been convinced 
that Muhammad Khwaja would make a better emperor than 
Humayun — indeed, Humayun's bearing and conduct must 
have caused grave anxiety to all who had the welfare of the 
kingdom at heart. But that the scheme should have been 
considered feasible at all is eloquent testimony of Babur's 
feebleness in body and mind. 

It was in the summer of 1529 that Humayun, far removed 
in Badakhshan from the politics of the court, received news 
which caused him the gravest anxiety. There is strong pre- 
sumptive evidence that it was his mother Maham, now journey- 
ing in leisurely fashion from Kabul to join her husband in Agra, 

1 Khwaja Nizam-ud-Din 'Ali Barlas, brother of Sultan Junaid 
Barlas, and, like Babur, a member of the family to which Timur had 
belonged. See Cahun, Introduction a Vhistoire de VAsie, Turcs et Mongols, 
44 seq. 



172 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

who bade him return ; and it is natural to suppose that she 
did so because she had somehow obtained intelligence of the 
plot to set him aside.i But from whatever source it may have 
been derived, the news which Humayun received was of 
sufficient weight to cause that prince, who was not much 
addicted to sudden decisions and quick action, to resolve upon 
a drastic course — nothing less than the abandonment of his 
government and the presentation of himself at headquarters 
without waiting for orders. 2 Another indication of the gravity 
of his intelligence is afforded by the way in which he ignored 
the protests of his subjects. The Badakhshanis implored him 
to continue governing them, lest the Uzbegs should seize the 
whole country. Humayun merely put forward the pretext 
that he had received urgent orders of recall from the Emperor, 
nominated in reckless haste a lieutenant who was quite in- 
capable of filling his place, and hurried towards Kabul. In 
Kabul, where he seems to have arrived on June 8th,3 he 



* Is it possible that Maham, who cannot have been in very close 
touch with Agra politics during her residence at Kabul, received her first 
intelligence of the conspiracy to set aside her son as she passed through 
the Etawah district held by the rival candidate ? 

* Mirza Haidar {T.R., 387) writes that Humayun had actually been 
recalled by Babur. But this cannot be anything more than an excuse 
put forward by the prince himself, for (i) the appearance of Humayun 
at Agra surprised everyone ; (ii) Babur was expecting Hindal, and would 
never have recalled both boys at the same time ; (iii) no successor had 
been settled upon to occupy the governorship of Badakhshan ; (iv) Hu- 
mayun was asked by his father to return to his charge. 

3 There is doubt about this date. My reasons for deciding upon 
June 8th are as follows. In the fragment given b^ Pa vet de Courteille, 
ii. 457, it is stated the Bairam festivities were in progress when the 
princes met in Kabul. This may bo either 1st Shawwal (June 8th) or 
10th Zulhijja (August 15th). In favour of the earlier date may be 
alleged this evidence : Starting to work back from December, 1530, wo 
know that Babur kept his bed for two or three months before he died 
(Gulbadan Begam, 105), and that the weather was extremely hot when 
Humayun's ilhiess was critical. This points to the " circumambula- 
tion " having taken place in August or September. Humayun, we know, 
had been ill for some time before Babur heard of it (Pavet de Courteille, 
ii. 459), and the slow journey from Sambal and Muttra to Agra via 
Delhi must have taken no short while. It seems probable that Hu- 
mayun's illness began in the spring of 1530, and the six months which he 
spent on his jagir cannot have l^gun before the late autumn of 1529. 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 173 

encountered Kamran and Hindal. The latter had returned 
from visiting his father some months previously, but was at the 
moment again under orders to present himself at Agra. The 
three brothers had a consultation, and were apparently agreed 
upon the seriousness of the aspect of affairs. They must have 
seen that the future position of all three depended upon the 
abihty of Humayun and his mother to checkmate the schemes 
of Khalifa. Finally they hit upon a plan of action. It was 
determined that Humayun should proceed post haste to Agra, 
while Hindal was to take his place in Badakhshan. Kamran, 
meanwhile, was to keep tight hold of Kabul. This plan was 
duly carried out. 

Humayun 's mother Maham arrived at Agra, after a leisurely 
journey from Kabul, on June 27th, and her son, travelling 
fast, seems to have come only a few hours after. Humayun 
presented himself at court just at the very time when Maham 
had been leading Babur to talk of him with affection, and it was 
undoubtedly the influence of the adroit lady which saved the 
prince from disgrace. The Emperor was much annoyed at 
his son's dereliction, but made the best of a bad job. The 
retention of Badakhshan was a matter of considerable moment, 
for he still hoped, if health and strength could be regained, to 
use that kingdom as a base for another attempt to win his 
ancestor Timur's possessions in Central Asia. Accordingly, he 
asked Khalifa to go and take over charge. The old minister, 
who probably thought he saw the hand of Maham in the sug- 
gestion, strongly objected to leaving court at a time when his 
absence would have meant the victory of Humayun's party. 
As Abu'l Fazl says, he " delayed to obey." Babur then asked 
Humayun to go. The prince said that if an order were given, 
he would, of course, obey it : but that he would never exile 
himself voluntarily. In the last resort, Sulaiman Mirza, 

The fact that he spent some time at court before he departed, must 
incline us to favour the earlier of the two possible dates. 

Independent confirmation of the strength of this cham of evidence 
is afforded by the Memoirs themselves. It is stated (Pavet de Cour- 
teille, ii. 439) that on 1st Zulqada, 935 (July 8th, 1529), Humayun as 
well aa Maham received presents in the audience hall of Agra. 



174 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

the heir apparent, was sent to take possession of his father's 
kingdom. 

Babur seems to have been worn out by all this worry, and 
announced that he intended to retire to a hermitage in the 
Gold-scattering Garden, and resign the kingdom to Humayun, 
now evidently restored to favour again. The Emperor was. 
persuaded to desist from his purpose, and the importance of 
the episode lies merely in two things : first, it shows that Babur 
was now in a very feeble state of health, and secondly, it proves 
that Humayun, by his timely appearance, had checkmated 
the attempt to set him aside. His personal charm of manner, 
as well as his dutiful behaviour towards the father whose 
mental and bodily vigour were rapidly decaying, had completely 
secured his hold upon Babur 's afiections. Ahmad Yadgar 
has a story which, if it be true, as is more than likely, 
illustrates both the Emperor's condition at the time ^ and the 
anxieties as to his father's intentions which must have tor- 
mented the mind of the prince. 

" One evening the king was in his cups and summoned Muhammad 
Humayun. When that offspring of the royal tree came into the 
presence, His Majesty, overpowered by the wine, had fallen asleep 
on his pillow. The Shahzada remained there standing, motionless, 
with his hands joined. When the king awoke from sleep at midnight, 
he beheld him standing and said, ' When did you come ? ' He 
replied, ' When I received your commands.' The king then re- 
membered having sent for him, and was much gratified and said, 
' If God should grant you the throne and crown, do not put your 
brothers to death, but look sharply after them.' The Shahzada 
bowed down to the ground, and acquiesced in all that his Majesty 
said.'* 

Immediately after this incident, Humayun, with his mind 

1 Ifc has another point of interest, being, so far as I know, the only 
evidence that Babur broke the vow he had taken to abstain from wine 
on the eve of the battle of Kanua. Ahmad Yadgar's authority upon 
matters of this sort is considerable : his own father was in the service 
of Mirza Askari, and he gives several particulars of eventa occurring 
during the last few years of Babur's reign which are found in no other 
writer. See Elliot and Dowson, vol. v. H. Beveridge in J.A.S.B., 1916. 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 175 

more at ease, went to Sambal with a large force to complete 
the settlement of his jagir. Here he remained for six months 
apparently in great content, but at the end of that priod, when 
the hot weather of 1530 was beginning, he fell dangerously ill. 
After some time his father received news of this, and in some 
alarm gave orders that the prince should be brought to Delhi, 
and thence by water to Agra. But when Humayun arrived in 
Delhi, his condition was so critical that his boon companion, 
the dissolute Maulana Muhammad Parghari, sent an urgent 
message to Maham, then pleasure-seeking with her husband 
at Dholpur : " Humayun Mirza is ill and in an extraordinary 
state. Her Highness the Begam should come at once to 
Delhi, for the Mirza is much prostrated." i Maham set out 
to meet her son, and found him at Muttra. By the time he 
arrived in Agra his mind was wandering, and when Gulbadan 
Begam and her sisters visited him, they found he was delirious. 
Babur was terribly distressed when he saw his son's condition. 
Not long before he had lost a younger boy, Alwar, and doubtless 
his apprehensions were of the worst. Maham made a pathetic 
attempt to comfort him : "Do not be troubled about my son. 
You are a king : what griefs have you ? You have other sons. 
I sorrow because I have only this one." Babur's reply shows 
plainly how much his mind was set upon Humayun's succession 
to the throne : " Maham, although I have other sons, I love 
none as I love your Humayun. I crave that this cherished 
child may have his heart's desire and live long, and I desire 
the kingdom for him and for the others, because he has not his 
equal in distinction." 2 

The story of Babur's sacrifice for his son is famous. 

After taking counsel with the wise, the Emperor deter- 
mined to sacrifice the most valuable thing in the possession of 
the sufferer, in order to ransom his Ufe. Some suggested that 
the great diamond should be given in alms ; but Babur, deem- 
ing that he himself was the most valuable thing possessed by 
Humayun, determined to make offering of his own life. After 

1 Gulbadan Begam, Humayun Nama, A. S. Beveridge, 104. 
« Ibid, 104, 105. 



176 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

the appropriate ceremonies, he walked three times round the 
sick-bed, and then exclaimed that he had borne away 
Humayun's sickness. From that moment, the story runs, 
Humayun rallied while Babur sank. 

By this rite, in which faith prevails even to-day among 
Asiatics, Babur believed that he had ransomed his son from 
death. Humayun did recover, and the Emperor, long ailing 
as we have seen, looked upon his own life as forfeit. 

Some of those who recount this incident, make it appear 
that Babur died at once. This is contrary to fact. Humayun 
left Agra, and went back, apparently to his jagir. Evidently 
he found no grave cause for anxiety in his father's health, 
and saw no necessity for remaining. The Emperor continued 
sickly for two or three months, but there seemed no immediate 
danger of his death. Suddenly, however, he took a turn for 
the worse, and Humayun, who had gone with an army in the 
Kalinjar direction, was hastily summoned. He was shocked 
at the change which had come over his father in the course of 
a few months, saying to the doctors : " I left him well : what 
has happened all at once ? " 

Between the time when Humayun recovered from his serious 
illness, and the time when he was recalled to his father's death- 
bed, the last scenes of the palace conspiracy to which Khalifa 
lent his aid had been performed. The old minister must now 
have been convinced that his plot could scarcely succeed : 
Humayun was too secure in his father's favour, and may 
perhaps have already been recognised, in some sort of way, 
as the next occupant of the throne. i None the less, so obstinate 
was the feeling nourished by Khalifa against Humayun, and 
so feeble was the condition of the Emperor's health, that had 
it not been for a single obstacle, the succession of Babur's sons 
might yet have been imperilled. That obstacle was the 
personality of the rival candidate. Mahdi Khwaja, imagining 
himself secure in Khalifa's favour, and knowing well the in- 
fluence of the all-powerful minister over his dying master, began 
to assume the airs of a king, and thus offended many who 
1 A.N., trs. H. Beveridgo, 276-77. 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 177 

might otherwise have proved valuable partisans. But this was 
not all : the final abandonment of the intrigue was directly- 
due to Mahdi Khwaja's rashness, and came about in a dramatic 
manner. The story is well told by the author of the Tahaqat- 
i-AJcbari. 

"It happened one day that Mir Klialifa went to see Mahdi 
Khwaja, who was in his pavihon. Mir Khalifa and Muhammad 
Moqim Harawi, Diwan of the household, father of the author, were 
the only persons present with the lOiwaja. When Mir Khalifa 
had sat for a moment, the Emperor Babur, in the pangs of his disease, 
sent for him. After he had gone, Mahdi Khwaja continued standing 
in the pavihon, and the author's father stood with respect behind 
him. The Mahdi, being unaware of my father's presence, stroked 
his beard when Khalifa had gone, and said, ' Please God, I will flay 
thee, old man.' Turning round he perceived my father, and being 
greatly moved said, ' O Tajik ! Ofttimes the red tongue has given 
the green head to the winds.' ^ My father took his leave and de- 
parted. He went with all haste to Mir Khalifa and said, * Not- 
withstanding the existence of such intelligent princes as Muhammad 
Humajom Mirza and his brothers, you have shut your eyes against 
loyalty, and desire to transfer the sovereignty to another house. 
Now see what will come of it.' " 

And he told Khalifa what he had heard, Mir Khalifa at once 
sent off to find Prince Humayun, and sent an officer to Mahdi 
Khwaja with an order in the Emperor's name, directing him to 
retire to his house. Thus came to an end the attempt to set 
Humayun aside. From henceforward, Khalifa never seems to 
have questioned the choice of his master. But it is not without 
significance that on the accession of Humayun, the old minister, 
for so long dominant in the politics of Hindustan, vanishes 
entirely from history. He finds no mention, so far as I am 
aware, in any of the chronicles of the reign of Humayun. 

The old Emperor became rapidly worse. There was a sudden 
acute disorder of the bowels which the doctors were quite unable 
to remedy, and they said that they had discovered symptoms 

1 I.e. freedom of speech has brought venerable, green-turbaned 
followers of the Prophet to the penalty of decapitation. 

N 



178 AN EMPIRE BUILDER OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

of the same poison with which Buwa Begam, Sultan Ibrahim's 
mother, had before attempted to take Babur's life. 

The dying man was in great pain, longing restlessly for the 
retm:n of Hindal, his dearly-loved, but his mind remained 
clear to the last. The day after Humayun's arrival Babur 
felt death draw near. He called the amirs together, and spoke 
his last words to them : — 

" For years it has been in my heart to surrender my throne 
to Humayun, and retire to the Gold-scattering Garden. By 
the Divine grace, I have obtained in health of body all things 
but the fulfilment of this wish. Now, when I am laid low by 
illness, I charge you to acknowledge Humayun as my successor, 
and to remain loyal to him. Be of one heart and mind towards 
him, and I hope to God that Humayun will also bear himself 
well towards men." 

He then turned to Humayun, and delivered him a message 
intended for his private ear. 

" Humayun, I commit to God's keeping you and your 
brothers and all my kinsfolk and your people and my people ; 
and all of these I confide to you.i . . . The cream of my 
testamentary directions is this. Do naught against your 
brothers, even though they may deserve it." * 

Right loyally, to his own sore despite, was Humayun to 
obey his father's dying charge. 

Three days later, on Monday, December 26th, 1530,^ Babur 
passed away. The death was kept secret, lest riots should 
break out in the interregnum. But after a time one of the 
Hindustani nobles, Araish Khan, remarked that this course 



1 A. S. Beveridge, 108-9. 

^ A.N.y trs. H. Beveridge, i. 277. 

' There is some confusion about this date, due in the first instance, 
I believe, to Erskine, who makes 5 Jumada 1, correspond with December 
26, when, as a matter of fact, it is December 25. Gulbadan gives 6 
Jumada 1, but says the day was a Monday. She would very likely 
have forgotten the day of the month, while remembering the day of the 
week clearly. Firishta follows her in giving the day as Monday, as 
well as in making it correspond to 6 Jumada 1. On the other hand, 
Abu'l Fazl gives it correctly as 6 Jumada 1, and is supported by the 
Uminski fragment (Pavefc de Courteille, ii. 461). 



THE FOUNDATIONS OF AN EMPIRE 179 

might produce the very consequences it was designed to obviate. 
As he said, " It is not well to keep the death secret, because 
when such misfortunes befall kings in Hindustan, it is the 
custom of the bazar people to rob and steal ; God forbid that 
the Mughals not knowing, they should come and loot the 
houses and dwelling-places . It would be best to dress some one 
in red, and to set him on an elephant, and let him proclaim that 
the Emperor Babur has become a dervish, and has given his 
throne to the Emperor Humayun." 

Babur's epitaph may fitly be taken from the words of an 
old writer.i 

** In the year 937, on the 6th of the 1st Jemadi (December 26th, 
1530), as the Emperor was in the Char Bagh ^ which he had made, 
he was seized with a serious illness and bade farewell to this transi- 
tory world. Let it suffice to say that he possessed eight funda- 
mental qualities: lofty judgment, noble ambition, the art of 
victory, the art of government, the art of conferring prosperity 
upon his people, the talent of ruling mildly the people of God, 
ability to win the hearts of his soldiers, love of justice." 

So died a very gallant gentleman. By his own request he 
was buried upon the hillside of Kabul, looking upon the 
prospect of meadow and stream that he loved so well. The 
work that he did endured long, and even to-day the influence 
of the imperial idea which possessed him so strongly is a 
living force in the land which he subdued. 

* Ilminski fragment. 

' The garden now known as the Ram Bagh, near Agra. 



INDEX 



Note. — Persons are generally indexed under their family or tribal names when mentioned ; 
e.g., Babur's kindred will be found under Mirza, Sultan Ibrahim under Lodi. In some 
cases, as Farmulis, Tarkhans several Individuals are grouped under one heading. Some 
names of minor importance are grouped as Jagidars and Chieftains. The spelling is not 
always imiform. 



Abdara, battle, 103 

Abd-ur-razzak, 6 

Abu'l Fazl, 173 

Abu'l-khatr, 44 

Abu'l-makaram, 56, 68 

Afghans, 5, 15, 16, 17, 78, 81, 92, 113, 114, 115, 

116, 120, 125, 127, 130, 132, 133, 134, 135, 
136, 137, 140, 142, 143, 152, 163, 164, 165 

Agra, 5, 138, 143, 144, 146, 162. 165, 168, 169, 

171, 173, 175, 176 
Ahmad Khan, sketched by Babur, 67 ; joins 

Mahmud to restore Babur, 68 ; kindness to 

Babur, 69 ; dies of chagrin after Archian, 75 
Ahmad, Nizam-ud-din, 171 
Ahmad Shah, 11 
Ahmad, taster, 144 
Ahmadnagar, 9, 11 
Akhsi, 24, 28, 29, 32, 33, 34, 36, 38, 46, 47, 48, 

49, 51, 68, 69, 70-73, 74, 75 
Aisan-daulat Begam, 34 ; defeats plot against 

Babur, 35-6 
Akbar, 9, 161 
Alam Khan, 17, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 127, 

140 
Alam, Shah, 15 
Al-Aman, 166 
Ali, Kambar, 51, 62 
'All, Kichik, 73 
*Ali-qutni, Malik, 112 
Alwar, 157 
Amu, 101 
Andijan, 24, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, 38, 41, 46, 47, 

48, 49, 50, 51, 54, 65, 68, 69, 70, 74, 101, 168 
Andil, Malik, 13 
Araish Khan, 127, 178 
Archian, battle, 75 
Arghuns, 13, 39, 78, 86 90, 91, 92, 111, 112, 

117, 119 
Arrack, 115 

Artillery introduced into Eastern warfare, 
110 ; taken up by Babm:, 111 ; used against 
Bajaur, 112 ; problem of its use against 
superior force, 128 ; Babur's solution, 129 ; 
his great gun, 143 ; at Kanua, 153-5 ; at the 
Gogia, 169 

Arts, fifteenth century, 2, 10 

Asadu'l'lah, Khwaja, 65 

Asfera, 37, 38, 55 

Asfadik, 55, 56 

Askari 110 

Astrology, 8 (note), 60, 90, 107 (note), 147 

Auratipa, 32, 37, 38, 47, 64, 66, 74 

Auzkint, 34, 49, 50, 51, 68, 76 

Aziz, Mir Abdul, 121, 133, 136, 136, 151 



Baba, waiting man, 112 ; Khaki, 90 ; 

, MuUa, of Pashaghar, 55, 89 

Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire : sur- 
named " The Tiger," 19, 29 ; birth date, 21 
(note), 29 ; Prince of Farghana, 21 ; de- 
scended from Timur and Chingiz, 22 ; in 
charge of the capital, 28 ; succeeds father in 
twelfth year, 29 ; character in boyhood, 29- 
30 : sketches his father and others, 30, 31 ; 
supported by his subjects, 31 ; makes peace 
with Sultan Ahmad, 32-3 ; peaceful re- 
organization, 34 ; Sultan Mahmud intrigues 
against Babur, 35 ; Mahmud's sudden death 
disturbs Samarkand, 36 ; Babur's interest 
in Samarkand, 37 ; rescues Asfera and re- 
takes Khojend, 37-8 ; visits Mahmud Khan 
38 ; collects arrears of tribute, 38 ; checked 
at Auratipa, withdraws to reorganize, 39 ; 
joins in abortive siege of Samarkand, 41 ; 
renews siege, 42 ; takes Shiraz, 43 ; low 
opinion of Mongols, whom he restrains from 
plunder, 43 ; treachery of the " Lovers' 
Cave," 43, 44 ; enters Samarkand, 45 ; diffi- 
culties with followers and severe illness cause 
collapse, 46-7 ; loses Andijan and Samar- 
kand, 47 ; deserted and reduced to beggary, 
47 ; a turn of fortune, 48 ; pardons Ali 
Dost, who admits him to Marghilan, 48 ; 
again master of Farghana, 49 ; loses ground 
through ill-timed order to Mongols, 49 ; 
campaign against Tambal, 50 ; wins his 
first ordered battle at Khuban, 50 ; checked 
by desertions, 51 ; winter dash against 
Tambal, 51 ; compelled to share his country 
with Jahangir, 51 ; difficult position, 52 ; 
wrath at blinding of Mas'ud, 53 ; offered 
Samarkand by the Tarkhans, 53 ; marches, 
but is forestalled by Shaibani, 54 ; against 
enormous odds decides to attack, 54 ; the 
wonderful victory, 55-7 ; insecure position, 
58 ; marches against Shaibana, 59 ; prema- 
ture attack results in heavy defeat at Sar-i- 
pul, 60-2 ; besieged at Samarkand and 
forced to surrender to Shaibani, 63 ; flight 
from Samarkand, kind reception by Mah- 
mud Khan, 64 ; retired life at Diich-kat, 65 ; 
presents to Jahangir and Tambal, 65 ; vain 
efforts against Shaibani, 66 ; joins Mahmud 
Khan at Tashkint, 66 ; poverty and humili- 
ation, 67 ; meets Ahmad Khan, 67 ; joins 
his uncles in campaign to regain Farghana, 
68 ; takes Ush and Marghilan, 68 ; fails 
against Andijan, 68-9 ; surprised and de- 
feated by Tambal, 69 ; allotted Akhsi by 



182 



INDEX 



Babur — continued. 
his uncles, 69 ; rejects a traitorous sug- 
gestion, 69 ; falls to win Akhsi, 70 ; accepts 
invitation of Tambal's brother to negotiate 
at Akhsi, 70 ; warned by Jahanglr of his 
uncles' retreat, 71 ; peace conference upset 
by Jahangir's treachery, 71 ; spirited de- 
fence of the town against Tambal and hasty 
flight, 71-3 ; pursued and captured, pre- 
pares for death, 73 , obscurity of his rescue, 
74 ; again with his uncles and in command, 
74 ; routed at Archian, 75 ; escapes to the 
hills, a homeless wanderer, 76 ; learns self- 
reliance and foresight, 77 ; turns his eyes 
on Kabul, 77 ; joined by deserters from 
Khosru and by Khosru himself, 79 ; ad- 
vancing against Kabul, defeats and enlists 
Sherak Beg, 79 ; surrender of Kabul, 80 ; 
consolidates his new kingdom, 80 ; financial 
troubles, 81 ; raids Kohat for supplies, 81 ; 
precautions in dangerous country, 81 ; de- 
feats plot revealed by Jahangir, 81-2 ; dis- 
obeyed by Nasir, 82 ; captures Khilat, 82 ; 
dismisses Baqi Chaganiani, 83 ; punishes 
the Hazaras, 83 ; illness through exposure, 

83 ; again deserted by Jahangir, 83 ; death 
of Sultan Husain Baiqara checks joint ac- 
tion against Shaibani, 84 ; frightens Jahan- 
gir, 84 ; Nasir retrieves himself by success, 

84 ; Babur joins Baiqara's heirs against 
Shaibani, 84-5 ; richly entertained by his 
cousins at Murghab and Herat, 85 ; perilous 
winter journey to Kabul, 86-9 ; scatters 
Hazaras, 89 ; quells rebellion at Kabul, 89 ; 
death of Jahangir and submission of Nasir 
strengthen his position, 90 ; accepts over- 
tures from Qandahar against Shaibani, 91 ; 
protects traders from plunder, 91-2 ; wel- 
comes fugitive princes, 92 ; treacherously 
attacked by the Arghuns, defeats them and 
hands over Qandahar to Nasir, 92-3 ; re- 
tires to avoid Shaibani, 93 ; assumes title of 
Padshah, 95 ; Humayun's birth occasions 
a rebellion, defeated by Babur's energy and 
prowess, 95-7 ; receives fugitive cousins 
97 ; Haidar Mirza's testimony to Babur's 
kindness, 97-8 ; exciting news of Shaibani's 
destruction by Shah Ismael, 98, 100 ; Babur 
joins Wais Mirza at Qunduz to recover 
Samarkand, 101 ; saved from deposition 
by Sultan Sa'id, 101 ; seeks help against 
the Uzbegs and is offered it on terms by 
Shah Ismael, 101-2 ; moves against Hisar 
and is slightly reinforced by Persian troops, 
102-3 ; attacked by Uzbegs, retires to Ab- 
dara, routs his pursuers and advances on 
Hisar, 103 ; ratifies agreement with Shah 
Ismael and is strongly reinforced, 103 ; 
takes Bokhara and dismisses Persians, 104 ; 
enters Samarkand in triumph, 104 ; by 
supporting Shah Ismael's religion loses 
popularity, 105 ; by his independence 
offends the Persians, who send a punitive 
force, 106 ; Babur meantime, attacked by 
Uzbegs, gives battle at Kul Malik, loses 
Bokhara and Samarkand and retires to 
Hisar, 106-7 ; Persians come to his aid, 
but suffer defeat, 108 ; Babm: escapes with 
difficulty and retires to Hisar, 108-9; nearly 
assassinated by Mongol troops, 109 ; joins 
Wais Mirza in Qunduz, 109; in despair 



returns to Kabul, 109 ; seeks consolatloB 
in wine, 109 ; crushes a rebellion at Ghazni, 
110; takes up artillery. Ill ; tumstowards 
Hindustan, 111 ; storms Bajaur, 111-3 ; 
justifies massacre against Afghans, 112-3 ; 
Kabul to Hindustan : Babur's review, 113 ; 
his five expeditions confused by historians, 
113 (note) ; first expedition against the 
Yusufzais, 114 ; claims Hindustan by right 
of descent from Timur, 114 ; Bhira and 
Khushab submit, 114 ; strange message to 
Delhi, 114 ; drinking parties, 115 ; on his 
return to Kabul, the conquered countries 
rebel, 115 ; second expedition — punishes 
Khizr Khail, 115 ; pause for reorganiza- 
tion, 115-6 ; third expedition — recon- 
quest of Bhira, 116 ; enters Sialkot, storms 
Saiyidpur, 116 ; a diversion from Qanda- 
har, 117 ; Qandahar betrayed to him after 
two sieges, 117-19 ; replies to Shah Ismael's 
plea for Shah Beg Arghun, 119 ; occupies 
Garmsir, 119 ; intrigues with Daulat Khan 
against Ibrahim Lodi, 120 ; fourth expedi- 
tion — defeats Lodi's army and takes Lahore 
and Dibalpur, 120 ; assigns to Daulat Ja- 
landhar and Sultanpur instead of Lahore, 
121 ; Daulat's treachery revealed by his 
son, 121 ; arrest and release of the traitor 
and retiuna to Kabul, 121 ; joined by Alam 
Khan, a fugitive from Dilapur, 122 ; treaty 
with Alam against Ibrahim, 122 ; Alam 
treacherously joins Daulat, but is routed 
by Ibrahim, 122 ; Babur's fifth expedition 
with new plans — Dellii the first objective, 
123-4 ; illness delays march — vows to give 
up wine, 124 ; his course again deflected by 
Daulat's invasion of the Paujab, 124 ; Ba- 
bur's small forces, 124-5 ; his bold and 
rapid advance disrupts Daulat's army, 125 ; 
Daulat's submission and Babur's admoni- 
tion, 125-6 ; marches against Ibrahim Lodi, 
126 ; dubious adherents, 127 ; defeats Ibra- 
him's advance guard, 127 ; problem of 
small forces and a long front, 127-8 ; 
battleground of Panipat, 128 ; Babur's 
line of waggons, 129 ; his battle disposi- 
tions, 129-32 ; Ibrahim's five to one superi- 
ority, 132 ; Babur's attempt to draw the 
enemy, 133 ; advance of the Afghans, 134 ; 
Babur's commanders, 134-5 ; the short 
front crowds the larger army and Babur 
Inflicts crushing defeat, 135-7 ; follows up 
his success, 138 ; impressions of Hindustan, 
138-9 ; generous distribution of spoils, 139 ; 
difficulties of completing the conquest, 140 ; 
Babur rallies the faint-hearted, 140-1 ; 
political effect of his decision to remain in 
Hindustan, 141 ; submission of chieftains, 
141-2 ; grants of unconquered territory', 
142 ; pleasure-gardens and baths, 143 ; 
great gun, 143 ; preparations against the 
Rajputs, 143-4 ; nearly poisoned by Ibra- 
him's mother, 144-5 : moves against the 
Rajputs, 145 ; marches to Sikri, 146 ; de- 
pressed forces, 146 ; misfortune at Kanua, 
146 ; fortifies his position, 146 ; new engines 
of war, 146-7 ; devices to restore moral of 
his army — again renounces wine, 147 ; 
appeal to his troops, 148 ; bad news, 148-9 ; 
advances on the Rajputs near Kanua, 149 ; 
his dispositions, 149-52; outnumbered 



INDEX 



183 



Babur — coniinued. 
seven or eight to one, 152 ; battle of Kanua, 
153-5 ; Babur's victory not helped by 
treachery, 155-6 ; his Empire now estab- 
lished, 156 ; marches into Alwar and re- 
turns to Agra, 157 ; grants leave to his 
troops, 157 ; reduces rebellious districts, 
158 ; pause for reorganization, 159 ; sacri- 
fices ideal of absolute monarchy to prac- 
tical necessities, 160-1 ; financial straits, 
162 ; empire-builder by conquest, not ad- 
ministration, 163 ; life after Kanua, 163 ; 
campaign against Medni Bao, 163-4 ; re- 
takes Kanauj, 165 ; receives Khwan- 
damir and visits Gwalior, 165 ; letter to 
Humayun on birth of Al-Aman, 166 ; bar- 
gains with Vikramadlt, 167 ; sends Askari 
to watch the Bengalis, 167 ; entertains 
ambassadors at Agra, 168 ; punitive ex- 
peditions, 168 : defeats the Bengalis, 169 ; 
disperses rebels and returns to Agra, 169 ; 
failing health, 170 ; palace conspiracy for 
the succession, 170-4, 176-7 ; is visited by 
Maham and Humayun, 173 ; regard for 
Badakshan as base against Central Asia, 
173 ; becomes feebler, 174 ; affection for 
Humayun, 174 ; on Humayun's critical 
illness offers his life for his son's, 175-6 ; 
Humayun recovers, Babur gradually sinks, 
176 : sudden turn for the worse, 176 ; 
suspicion of poison, 177-8 ; last charge to 
his amirs and to Humayun, 178 ; death, 
26 Dec, 1530. . 178 ; death kept secret, 178; 
his epitaph, 179 ; burial at Kabul, 179 

Badakshan, 25, 34, 82, 84, 93, 96, 100, 104, 
115. 166, 167, 171, 173 

Bahadur Khan, 140, 142 

Bahamids, 5, 8, 9 

Bahram Beg, 107 

Baiarid, Shaikh, 141, 163, 164, 165, 167, 
169 

Baiqara, Sultan Husain Mirza, 39 ; Invades 
Samarkand and besieges Hisar, 39 ; retires 
unsuccessful, 40 ; wars with his son, 53 ; 
refuses to march against Shaibani, 76 ; 
harbours the exiled Khosru, 82 ; organizes 
joint attack on Shaibani, but dies suddenly 
on setting out, 84 

Bajaur, 111, 112, 113, 116 

Bakka, 6 

Bakr, Amir Muhammad, 77 

Balkh, 85, 122, 167 

Baluchis, 120, 126, 168 

Baqi, Maulana Abdul, 119 

Barlas, Shaikh Abdullah, 52 ; , Sultan 

Junaid, 37, 133, 134, 142 

Baths constructed by Babur, 143 

Battle, traditional order of, 50, 134 

Bayazid, Shaikh, 70, 71, 72, 75 

Bengal, 5, 13, 14, 167, 168, 169, 170 

Bengalis, 167, 168, 169 

Berar 9 

Bever'idge, Mrs., 55, 86 

Bhasawar, 146, 149 

Bhira, 114, 115, 116 

Biana, 140, 143, 145, 146, 151, 157 

Biban, 158, 165, 167, 169 

Bigarha, Sultan Mahmud, 11 

Bihar, 168 

Bijapur, 9 

Bllah, 81 



Bishkint, 66 

Bokhara, 23, 34, 36, 40, 41, 53, 104, 106, 107, 

108 
Bridge-head, 59 
Buwa Begam, 144, 178 

Chaoh-charan, 86 

Chagatai, Sultan Sa'id Khan, 97, 101 

Chagatais, 95 

Chaghaniani, Baqi, 81, 82, 88 

Chagansarai, 111 

Chaldu-an, 110, 129 

Champanir, 12 

Chanderi, 163, 164 

Chandwa, 17, 148, 158 

Char Bagh, 96, 179 

Chaunsa, battle, 132 

Chieftains of Babur at Panipat, 133, 134-5 ; at 

Kanua, 151-2 
China, 30, 67 
Chingiz Khan, 22 
Chitor, 11 
Circassian girls, 170 
Constantinople, 110 
Contemporaries of Babur, 21 

Dabusi, 59 

Darwesh Beg, All, 33 

Daud Khan, 127 

De Courteille, Pavet, 74 

Deccan, 5, 8 

Delhi, city, 16, 114, 120, 122, 127, 128, 138, 

162, 175 ; , dynasty, 2, 11, 12, 14, 15, 

119, 123, 127, 137, 160 ; empire, 4, 5, 

6, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 116, 122, 126, 152 

Desht, 81 

Dholpur, 140, 142, 175 

Diamond, the great, 138, 175 

Dibalpur, 120 

Dikh-kat, 64 

Dilawar Khan, 120, 121, 125, 152 

Discipline of Babur's forces, 43, 93 

Dizak, 64 

Doab, 137, 141 

Dost-i-nasir, 55. 72, 112, 138 

Dughlat, Aba-bikr, 33. 34; , Haidar 

Mirza, 97, 101, 104, 105, 109, 110, 132 ; 
, Muhammad Husain, 39, 47, 60, 89 

Duldai, Sultan Muhammad, 134, 142 

Durmesh Khan, 119 

Elephants useless against guns, 132 
Etawa, 17, 140, 142, 144, 158, 170 

Fakhru'n-nisa, 59 

Farghana, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 51, 59, 

63, 68, 74, 77 
Farmulis, 16, 17, 140, 141, 151 
Farrukhis, 10 
Firoz Shah, 9 
Flowers of Vijayanagar, 7 

Ganges, 140, 142, 163, 165, 169 

Gardens, constructed by Babur, 144 

Garmsir, 78, 119 

Gau, Darwesh, 32 

Gawan, Mahmud, 9 

Ghaj-davan, 108 

Ghazi Khan, 121, 124, 125 

Ghazipur, 144 

Ghazni, 23, 80, 83, 93, 96, 110 



184 



INDEX 



Ghori, Dilawax Khan, 10 

Girdiz, 115 

Golconda, 9 

Gold, Hindustan a land of, 139 

Golden ages of India, 12, 17 

Gujarat, 5, 11, 12, 18 

Guk Sarai, 40 

Gulbaden Begam, 45, 175 

Gulbarga, 9 

Guren, Sliaikh, 141, 152 

Gwalior, 14, 138, 140, 143, 149, 165 

Habib-us-Siyar, 96, 165 

Hadi, Saiyid, 102 

Haitim Khan, 127 

Hamida Khan, 127 

Harawi, Muhammad Moqim, 177 

Harihara, 6 

Hasan, Auzun, 34, 42. 46, 48, 49 

Hasan-i-Yakub, 34, 35, 36 

Hazaras, 78, 81, 89 

Herat, 7, 23, 39, 82, 85, 90, 117, 119, 165 

Hindal, 110 

Hindu Beg, 115, 133, 162, 153 

Hindu States, 5, 6, 8, 12 

Hindus, 11, 137, 144, 168 

Hindustan, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 21, 
76, 80, 93, 94, 97, 111, 112, 113, 116, 119, 
120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 137, 
138, 139, 143, 144, 156, 157, 161, 165, 166, 
167, 177, 179 

Hisar, 34, 36, 39, 40, 41, 52, 53, 101, 102, 103, 
104, 107, 109, 166 

Hoshang Shah, 11 

Husain, Khwaja, 151, 154 

Husain Shah, 14 

Hushyar, 76, 168 

Hussites, 130 

Ibrahim Beg, 72, 73 ; Shah, 14 

Imam Keza, 98 

Infants command armies, 30 

Iraq, disaster of, 23 

Jaqirdars, Afghan, 16-17 

Jahan Shah, 14 

Jahangir, Emperor, 73 

Jajmau, 142 

Jalandhar, 121 

Jams, 13 

Jan, Muhammad, 104, 106 

Jang-Jang, Muliammad Ali, 112, 133, 135, 

142, 151, 154, 158 ; , Nau-roz, 112 

Jan-wafa, 56 

Jaunpur, 6, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 144, 169 

Jihlam, 114, 120, 125 

Jumna, 127, 138, 158 

Jimahgaih, 12 

Kabul, 23, 78, 80, 82, 89, 101, 111, 116, 116, 
119, 120, 122, 124, 139, 143, 157, 167, 171, 
172, 173, 179 

Kahil, 71 

Kakar, 120 

Kalpi, 17, 140, 144, 163, 164 

Kanauj, 17, 140, 142, 149, 163, 164, 165 

Kan-bai, 37 

Kandar, 142 

Kans, Raja, 13 

Kanua, battle, preliminaries of, 146-7 ; re- 
storing moral of troops, 147-8 ; Babur's 



dispositions, 149-52 ; nimibers of the 
forces, 152-3 ; artillery and tactical skill 
defeat superior numbers, 153-5 ; import- 
ance and consequences of the battle, 155-7 
Kasan, 51 
Kashgar, 33 
Kasim Beg (Malik Kasim), 50, 52, 54, 134, 152, 

153 
Kechran, 164 
Khalifa, 52, 112, 184, 147, 149, 151, 154, 171, 

173, 176, 177 
Khandesh, 5, 10 
Khan-yurti, 55 

Khanzada Begam, 63, 101, 170 
Khawal-i-quti, 87 
Khilat, 82 

Khiljis, 2, 4, 10, 11, 188 
Khizar, 108 
Khizr Khail, 115 
Khojend, 32, 37, 38, 74 
Khorasan, 23, 76, 90, 92 
Khosru Shah, fails to seize Samarkand, 36 ; 
besiezed in Qunduz, 39 ; repulses Sultan 
Husain Baiqara, 40 ; receives the fugitive 
Baisanghar kindly, 45, 52 ; marches against 
Hisar, 52 ; blinds Mas'ud and bowstrings 
Baisanghar, 53 ; retires before Shaibani, 
79 ; deserted by his men, joins Babur, 79 ; 
is protected by Babur from Wais Mirza and 
dismissed with gifts, 79 ; taken and exe- 
cuted in attempting to retake Qimduz, 82 
Khuban, battle, 50 
Khudai-birdi, 28 
Khumbha, Rana, 11, 12 
Khushab, 114 
Khutlan, 39, 104 

Khwaja, Mahdi, 133, 134, 142, 151, 157, 170, 
171, 176, 177 ; , Mirza, 96 ; , Mu- 
hammad, 138 
Khwandamir (Mir Khwand), 30, 68, 102, 165 
Kilam, Khwaja, 134, 138, 167 
Kingship of the Lodis, a limited monarchy, 
159 ; faihu*e to recognize its limitations 
brings Ibrahim Lodi to disaster, 160 ; Ba- 
bur's divine right theory, 161 ; he falls in 
with the old regime, 161 ; consequences to 
his successor, 162 ; Shir Shah's reforms and 
criticism, 162 
Kizil, Wall, 138 
Koel, 73 
Kohat, 81 
Kohburs, 56 
Kohik, 55, 60 
Kol, 141 

Kukuldash, Haidar, 37, 38 ; , Mirza Quli, 

33, 72 ; , Nuyan, 55, 65, 66 

Kukultash, Khosru, 121, 138, 134, 135, 152, 

153 
Kul Malik, battle, 107 
Kurkan, Muhammad Husain, 74 
Kusliteh, Baba, 121, 134 
Kutb Khan, 140, 148, 158 

LAHORE, 115, 116, 120, 121, 122, 124, 170 

Lane Poole, 74 

Life for a life, 176 

Lodi, Ala-ud-din, 151 ; , Bahlol, 14, 16, 

16, 126, 160; , Bihar, Khan 120; 

, Daulat Klian, 17, 115, 120, 121, 122, 

124, 125 : ^ Mahmud Khan, 17, 168 ; 

, Mubarak Khan, 17. 120 



i 



INDEX 



185 



Lodi, Sultan Ibrahim, tyrant, 18 ; a for- 
midable enemy, 113 ; offends Daulat Khan, 
who invites Babur's help, 120 ; his forces 
defeated by Babiir and dispersed by Daulat, 
120, 121 ; routs Alam Khan, 122 ; ad- 
vances against Babur, 127 ; bars the road 
to Delhi, 128 ; his tactics anticipated by 
Babur, 132 ; misses an opportunity, 133 ; 
attacks on the field of Panipat and is 
destroyed, 135-7 ; reason for failure as 
monarch, 160 

Lodi, Sultan Sikandar, 16, 17, 18, 126, 168 

Lodis, 15, 17, 141, 159, 160, 161 

Lohanis, 17, 140, 141, 142, 148, 158 

Lucknow, 17, 158, 164, 169 

Lunga dynasty, 13 

Ma'aeup, Muhammad, 165, 167, 169 

Madu, 50 

Maham Begam, 171, 173, 175 

Mahmud II., of Malwa, 11 

Mahmud Khan, son of Yunus, 17, 27 ; de- 
feats 'Umar Shaikh, 27 ; defeats Sultan 
Ahmad, 28, 44 ; joins Ahmad against 
'Umar, 28 ; 'Umar's death weakens the 
alliance, 29 ; besieges Akhsi, 32, 33 ; 
deserted by Ahmad, he retires, 33 ; de- 
feated by Sultan Baisanghar, 37 ; receives 
Babur kindly, 38 ; takes Auratipa, 39 ; 
demands Andijan and Akhsi, 46 ; half- 
hearted support of Babiu", 47 ; lends men 
to Babur, 47, 49 ; helps the rebel Tambal, 
51 ; lends troops to Babur against Shaibani, 
60 ; kind reception of Babur after defeat, 
64 ; demonstrates in force against Tambal, 
66 ; affectionate relations with Babur, 67 ; 
visited by his brother Ahmad, concerts 
campaign to win back Farghana for Babur, 
67-8 ; gives Ahmad places taken by Babur, 
69 ; proposes reinstatement of Babur in 
Samarkand, 69 ; retreats with Ahmad when 
Shaibani joins Tambal, 70 ; plans cam- 
paign agamst Shaibani, 74 ; invades Far- 
ghana with Ahmad and Babur, 74 ; routed 
and captiu-ed at Archian, release and sub- 
sequent murder, 75 

Mahmud Shah, 14 

Malwa, 10, 11, 12, 163 

Mandu, 5, 13 

Marghilan, 24, 32, 34, 48, 54, 70 

Marwar, 5 

Maslahat, Shaikh, 56 

Ma'suma Sultan, 85 

Matla-us-Sadain, 6 

Mavara-un-Nahr, 104, 105 

Mazhab, Mulla Muhammad, 127 

Mecca, 139 

Medina, 139 

Memoirs of Babur, 21, 43 (note), 96, 111, 116, 
165, 170 

Merv, 100, 101, 166 

Mewar, 5, 11, 12, 18, 156 

Mewnr, Annals of, 156 

Mewat, 140, 157 

Mewati, Hasan Khan, 140, 145 

Milwat, 125 

Miran, Khwaja Mir, 72, 125, 126, 134 

Mirza, Abd-ur-razzak, 78, 79, 92, 95, 96, 97 

, Alwar, 175 ; , Askari, 167, 169 

, Badi-uz-Zaman, 39, 53, 84, 85, 90 

, Hindal, 170, 173. 178 



Mirza, Humayun, heir of Babur, 96 ; taken 
to Qunduz, 101 ; delays, Babur's march to 
Hindustan, 123 ; defeats Hamida Khan, 
127 ; at Panipat, 133, 134 ; captures Agra, 
138 ; his famous diamond, 138, 175 ; takes 
Sambal and moves against Kanauj, 142 ; 
recalled by Babur to fight the Rajputs, 143 ; 
at Kanua, 146, 151, 152 ; returns to Kabul, 
157 ; legacy of financial trouble, 162 ; his 
th-st-born, and a letter from Babur, 166-7 ; 
fails against Uzbegs, 109 ; palace con- 
spiracy against his heirship, 170-1 ; un- 
wonted decisive action — unauthorized re- 
turn to Agra, 172-3 ; his father conciliated 
and the conspiracy defeated, 173-4, 176-7 ; 
critical illness, 175 ; Babur offers his life for 
Humayun's, 175-6 ; recalled to his father's 
death-bed, 176 ; his father's last message, 
178 

Mirza, Jahangir, half-brother of Babiu*, 29 ; 
holds Akhsi against Mahmud Khan, 32, 33 ; 
puppet of conspirators, 35, 46, 48 ; is con- 
ceded Northern Farghana by Babur, 51, 54 ; 
on Babur's taking Samarkand becomes sole 
ruler of Farghana, 59, 63 ; sends Babur 200 
men, 59 ; ruled by Tambal, 68 ; warns 
Babur of his uncles' retreat, 71 ; by trea- 
chery frustrates peace between Babur and 
Tamb&l, 71 ; fails Babur in his defence of 
Akhsi, 71, 72 ; seizes Khojend, but loses it 
to Shaibani, 74 ; deserts Babur in his need, 
76 ; assists Babur to take Kabul, 80 ; re- 
ceives Ghazni as reward, 80 ; reveals a plot 
against Babxir, 81 ; quits Babiu: and makes 
for Yai, 83 ; caught unawares by Babur, 
84 ; submits and is forgiven, 85 ; dies sud- 
denly through drink, 90 

Mirza, Kamram, 101, 119, 166, 167, 170, 173 ; 
, Muhammad Husain, 64 ; , Mu- 
hammad Sultan, 133, 134, 145, 151, 154 ; 
, Muzaffar Husain, 39, 84, 85, 90 

Mirza, Nasir, half-brother of Babur, 29 ; 
assists Babur at Kabul, 80 ; receives Ning- 
nahar as reward, 80; disobeying Babur, 
raids Nur Valley on his own account and 
meets disaster, 82 ; by a happy chance 
makes himself prince of Badakshan, 82 ; 
defeats invaders, 84 ; is expelled and re- 
turns repentant to Babur, 90 ; given 
Qandahar in compensation for Badakhshan, 
93 ; besieged by Shaibani, escapes to Ghazni, 
93 ; given charge of Kabul when Babur 
makes for Samarkand, 101 ; dies at Ghazni, 
110 

Mirza, Sulaiman, 173 ; , Sultan Abu 

Saiyid, 23, 25 

Mirza, Sultan Ahmad, 23 ; territorial dis- 
putes with 'Umar Shaikh, 24, 25 ; marches 
against Mahmud Khan, 27 , betrayed and 
defeated, 28 ; alliance with Mahmud and 
joint invasion of Farghana, 28 ; suspicious 
of Mahmud, 29 ; advances against Andijan, 
32 ; hastily makes peace with Babur, 32-3 ; 
dies suddenly, 34 

Mirza, Sultan Ali, 36, 37 ; conspires against 
his brother, Baisanghar, 40 ; his capture 
and escape, 40 ; inconclusive siege of 
Samarkand with Mas'ud and Babur, 40 ; 
joined by Babur in spring campaign, 42-3 ; 
takes Bokhara after the fall of Samarkand, 
45 ; called from Bokhara, 47 ; 



186 



INDEX 



Samarkand, 52 ; offends the Tarkhans, 53 ; 
defeats Mongols invoked by the Tarkhans, 
53 ; murdered by Shaibani, 54 

Mirza, Snltan Baisanghar, of Samarkand, 
succeeds Sultan Mahmud, 36 ; defeats 
Mahmud Khan, 37 ; moves against Babur, 
but is engaged by Mahmud Khan, 37-8 ; 
withstands invasion by Sultan Husain Bai- 
qara, 39-40 ; deposed and restored, 40 ; 
defeated by his brother AH, 40 ; surprised 
by Babur, 42 ; appeals to Shaibani, 44 ; 
disappointed by Shaibani, flies from Sa- 
markand by night, 45 ; received kindly by 
Khosru Shah, 45, 52 ; marches with 
Khosru against Hisar, 52 ; installed in 
Hisar by Khosru, afterwards bowstringed,53 

Mirza, Sultan Husain, 63 ; , Sultan Mah- 
mud, 23, 25, 34, 35, 36; , Sultan 

Mas'ud, 36, 39, 41, 52-3; , Sultan 

Salim, 134 ; , Ulugh Beg, 23, 62, 78 

Mirza, 'Umar Shaikh, father of Babur, 23 ; 
hostility to Sultan Ahmad, his brother, 24 ; 
territorial dispute, 25 : befriended by 
Yunus Khan, 25, 26 ; makes peace with 
Ahmad, 26 ; invades Tashkint, 27 ; de- 
feated by Mahmud Khan, 27 ; his intrigues 
provoke allied action against him, 28 ; his 
death by accident, 29 ; characterisation 
by his son, 30 

Mirza, Wais (Wais Khan), 79, 89, 92, 100, 101, 
102, 103, 104, 109, 167 

Mongolistan, 75 

Mongols, 25, 37, 38, 43, 49, 53, 62, 70, 78, 79, 
80, 89, 95, 96, 101, 109, 110, 152 

Mongols, costume of, 68 

Moral, expedients to restore, 147, 148 

Mountain passes, 81, 87, 88, 114, 115, 120 

Mughalistan, 67 

Mughals, 17, 25 (note), 122, 133, 136, 137, 
149, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 159, 162, 179 

Muhammad, Ghias-ud-din, 117 : , Khwa- 

ja Kasnal-ud-din, 108 

Muhammadan States, 4-5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 
15 

Muhammadans, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 18, 156 

Multan, 4, 13, 81, 121 

Muqim, Muhammad, 78, 80 

Murghab, 85 

Murshid, Mulla, 114, 115 

TVTimlcpi'fiprfi 147 

Mustafa, 111, 128, 129, 135, 136, 146, 149, 153, 
154 

Muttra, 175 

Muzaffar Khan, 11 

Muzaffar II., of Gujarat, 12 

Name, ambiguous, 166 
Nasib Shah, 14 
NJngnahar, 80 
Nirah-tu, 93 

Nizam Khan (Sikandar), 16 ; , of 

Biana, 140, 151 
Nur, 82 

Orissa, 5, 8, 14 
Oudh, 5, 17, 141, 165 

Panipat, battle, 113 ; Babur's tactics mis- 
understood, 129-30 ; waggon-line not for 
defence, but offence, 130 ; numbers of the 
forces, 132 ; Babur attempts a surprise. 



133 ; Af^ans advance, 134 ; Babur's dis" 
positions, 134-5 ; short front hampers 
superior force?, whose indecision gives 
Babur the chance to inflict crushing defeat, 
136-7 ; political importance of the battle, 
137 ; value of musketeers, 147 

Panipat, town, 128, 129, 135 

Panjab, 4, 14, 15, 16, 18, 114, 115, 116, 120, 
121, 122, 123 

Pap, 70, 71 

Parghari, Maulana Muhammad, 175 

Pedigree, Babur's, 22 (note) 

Persia, 98, 106, 117, 168 

Persians, 98, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 
108, 109, 110, 111, 117, 119, 166, 167. 168 

Peshawar, 115 

Pigeons, a Timurid hobby, 29 

Pir Sultan, 86 

Political confusion, 15th century, 1 ; 

forces, mid-15th century, 6 

Qaba, 32, 33 

Qalat, 91, 92 

Qambar-i-'A!i, 71, 87 

Qandahar, 13, 80, 82, 90, 91, 92, 93, 95, 111, 

117, 119, 123 
Qara-Kul, 59 
Qarshi, 108 

Qasim Beg, 71, 73, 86, 87 ; , Saiyid, 71, 72 

Qunduz, 39, 45, 52, 53, 82, 96, 101, 109, 123 

RABIRI, 140, 142, 148, 158 

Rai Mai, 12 

Rajasthan, 12 

Rajputana, 5, 12, 157 

Rajputs, 11, 12, 13, 18, 120, 127, 141, 142, 

144, 149, 153, 154, 155, 156 
Ransom from death, 175-6 
Rantambhor, 142, 167 
Rao, Medni, 11, 163, 164 
Reconstruction, 16th century, 2 
Roh, 16 

SAFAWI, Shah Ismael, 98 ; complains of 
Shaibani's troops, 98 ; receiving an in- 
sulting reply, retorts with a challenge, 98; 
surprises, outwits and utterly destroys 
Babur's old enemy, 100 ; restores Babur's 
sister, 101 ; friendly offer to Babur, 102 ; 
becomes Babur's ally — at a price, 102 ; 
offended by lying reports against Babiu-, 
sends a punitive force, 106 ; defeated at 
Chaldiran by Turkish artillery, adopts 
artillery himself, 110-11 ; approached by 
Shah Beg Arghun for support, against 
Babur, 117 ; asks Babur to be merciful to 
Shah Beg, 119 ; succeeded by Tahmasp in 
1523.. 167 

Sahu-Khails, 17 

Saiyid dynasty, 15 

Saiyidpur, 116 

Salim the Grim, 110, 129 

Samarkand, 23, 28, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 
61, 52, 53, 58, 59, 62, 63. 66, 102, 104, 105, 
166 

Sambal, 140, 142, 149, 175 

Sambali, Kasim, 140 

Sani, Mir Najm, 106, 107, 108 

Sarang-Rlianis 17, 140 

Sar-i-pul, battle, 60-2 

Saru. Ibrahim, 37, 88, 62 



INDEX 



187 



Sarwanis, 17 

Shahrukhia, 25, 26, 27, 38, 66 

Shaibani (Shahi Beg), betrayer of Ahmad 
Mirza, 27-8 ; soldier of fortune and 
governor of Turkistan, 44; fails Baisanghar, 
44-5 ; covets Samarkand, 45, 47 ; takes 
Bokhara, 54 ; takes Samarkand, 54 ; 
murders Sultan Ali, 54 ; on Babur's re- 
capture of Samarkand, withdraws to Bok- 
hara, 58 ; renews attacks against Babur, 
59 ; defeats Babur at Sar-i-pal, 60-2 ; 
besieges Samarkand and starves out Babur 
and his men, 63 ; raids Shahrukhia, Bish- 
tint and Auratipa, 66 ; goes to aid of Tam- 
bal against Khans Mahmud and Ahmad, 
70 ; conquers Farghana, 74 ; takes Kho- 
jend, 74 ; crushes the Khans at Archian, 
75 ; orders murder of Mahmud Khan, 75 ; 
moves against Hisar and Qunduz, 77 ; 
easily conquers Khorasan, 90 ; turns to 
literature, 91 ; attempts to surprise Babur 
at Qandahar, 93 ; besieges Qandahar, but 
retires to meet rebels, 93 ; affronts Shah 
Ismael Safawi, of Persia, 98 ; is surprised, 
driven into Merv and besieged, 100 ; led 
into a death-trap by the Persians, 100 

Shaibani-nama, 74 

Shaibaq Khan, 56, 57, 63 

Shamsabad, 17, 165, 167 

Shams-ud-din, 13 

Sharif, Saiyid, 14 

Sharqis, 5, 14 

Shavdar, 58 

Sherak Beg, 79 

Sher-zad, Baba, 72 

Shias and Simnis, 98, 102, 103, 104, 105 

Shir Shah, 137, 162 

Shiram, Mir, 110 

Shirazi, Amir Sultan Muhammad 107 

Sialkot, 116, 121 

Sikandar, Mirza, 102 

Sikri, 45, 146, 149, 163 

Siladi of Raisin, 156 

Bind, 81, 114, 115, 124 

Sindh, 4, 13, 117, 119 

Singh, Man, 165 

Singh, Rana Singram, 11, 12, 18, 127, 141, 
142, 143, 145, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 167 

Sirr, 24, 83 

Su-sawah, 127 

Soldiers of fortune, 40, 43, 96 

Spurious passage in Babur's Memoirs, 73-4 

States, formation of, 4, 8, 9 

Sukh, 76, 168 

Sulaiinan, servant, 73 

Sultan, Adil, 134, 138, 151, 154 ; , Chin 

Timur, 134, 151, 153, 165 ; , Kasim 

Husain, 152, 153 ; , Muhammad 

Timur, 107, 138 

Sultanpur, 121 

Sximeras, 13 

Sun Tzu, 134 

8uikh-ab, 103 



I TAGHAI, ALI DOST, 31. 34, 42, 46, 48, 51 
Tahmasp, Shah, 119, 166, 167, 170 
Tambal, Sultan Ahmad, 46, 48, 49, 50, 54, 65, 

66, 68, 69, 70, 71, 74 
Tardi Beg, 134, 152, 158 
Tarikh-i-Daudi, 15 
Tarikh-i-Rashidi, 96, 97 
Tarikh-i-Sher Sliahi, 16 
Tarkhans, 53, 56, 60, 62, 107, 134 
Tashkint, 25, 26, 27, 66, 67, 68, 74 
Tatar Khan, 17, 126 
Taxation, 81, 148 
Tehran, 110 
Timur the Lame, 4, 22, 37, 65, 114, 134, 161, 

173 
Timurids (House of Timur), 27, 44, 59, 77, 84, 

91, 94, ^62 
Tirmiz, 39, 77 

Traders protected by Babur, 43, 49, 91 
Transoxiana, 23, 103, 168, 170 
Tripods for musketeers, 146-7 
Tughluqs, 2, 10, 14 

Tulghma, flanking party, 134, 135, 151, 152, 
153, 154 ; national charge of the Uzbegs, 62 
Turban, 30 
Turkistan, 21, 44, 58 
Turkman, Mirza Barkhwardar, 102 
Turkomans, 23 
Turks, 13, 110, 111, 114 

'Ubaidullah Khan, 106, 107, 108; , 

Khwaja Nasir-ud-din, 26, 55, 56 

Ush, 24, 50, 54, 68 

Ushtur, 27 

Ustad Ali Khan, 111, 112, 128, 129, 135, 136, 
143, 146, 149, 154, 155 

Uzbegs, 40, 44, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 62, 
63, 66, 77, 78, 79, 80, 82, 84, 85, 86, 90, 91, 

92, 93, 98, 100, 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 
108, 122, 123, 130, 166, 167, 168, 169, 172 

VlJAYANAGAR, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 

Vikramadit, 165, 167 

Waqqon-linb warfare, 129-30, 146, 149 

Wakhsh, 103 

Wall the Treasurer, 112 

Waqi'at-i-Mushtaki, 16 

Wasmand, 56 

Wine, 109, 124, 147, 174 

Yadqar, Ahmad, 174 
Yai 83 

Yaka-aulang, 88, 89 
Yar-yilaq, 55 
Yunus Khan, 25, 26 

Yusuf, 73 ; , Amir, 117 

Yusufzais. 114. 115 

Zain, Shaikh, 12, 151, 170 
Zaitun, Muhammad, 140 
Zikr Beg, 78 



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